US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Lester Crawford has resigned, claiming that at 67 it was time to step aside. His resignation comes just two months after the Senate elevated the longtime agency deputy and acting commissioner to the top job. Although the resignation comes as a surprise, it has been noted that, his tenure was marked by criticism of the agency. The painkiller Vioxx was pulled off shelves for safety problems, and regulators held up wider access to emergency contraception. FDA's top official is now Andrew C. von Eschenbach, acting commissioner of food and drugs. "Despite various policy disagreements, we'll miss Dr Crawford for his openness, and because he's really one of the only FDA commissioners who has had substantive experience with food safety," said Michael F Jacobsen, executive director of the pressure group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). "We hope the next commissioner is able to assert the agency's independence from the kinds of political and corporate pressures that have rendered the agency ineffective on many fronts." Richard Hogan has been named as Solvay Chemicals' new president and CEO. Hogan succeeds David Birney, who will continue to hold the position of president and chief executive officer of Solvay America. The newly created US Soybean Export Council has hired Dan Duran as its chief executive officer. Duran will be charged with maintaining and expanding international markets for US soybeans and soybean products. "Considering how unbelievably competitive the global market is, building brand preference for US soybeans and soybean products is the only way we are going to remain number one," said USSEC interim co-chairman Mark Pietz. William W. Veazey is Cargill's new senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer. A 30-year veteran of the company, Veazey most recently served as corporate vice president of finance, in which he led Cargill's controller, treasury, pension trust, insurance and various risk management activities. He succeeds Robert L. Lumpkins, who served as chief financial officer since his election to that position in 1989. And in other news, US Flavors & Fragrances (USF&F) has changed its name to Synergy following a multi-million dollar business realignment that began with last year's sale of its fragrance business. The company is now focused exclusively on expanding its flavor business. USF&F became a member of Irish-based Carbery, an international food company, when it was acquired in 2002. "With the additional resources of Carbery, we've made substantial investments in our business infrastructure and personnel in the past year," said Roderick Sowders, president and chief executive officer. The new name will encompass US Flavors & Fragrances (US), Synergy Flavours (UK) and Customblend Ingredients (UK), as well as the Carbery line of savory flavors and enhancers.
The FDA commissioner has resigned, Cargill has a new vice president and Solvay Chemicals has a new chief executive.