The former Okanagan Plant Improvement Company (PICO)—the entity that manages and commercializes new tree fruit varieties in British Columbia, Canada—has a new name and is looking for a new chief executive officer.
On June 25, Keith Carlson stepped down after less than a year as CEO. Carlson, an apple and cherry grower, had been chair of the board for six years before being appointed CEO. He succeeded John Kingsmill in July, 2013, with a vow to lead the company in a new direction, which would ensure the greatest benefits to Canadian growers.
Nick Ibuki, operations manager, has been appointed interim CEO until a successor to Carlson is appointed. He said Carlson left to focus on other endeavors and it could take two or three months to recruit someone to the position. Ken Haddrell, who retired as operations manager last year, has rejoined the company in an advisory capacity.
PICO changed its name in March to Summerland Varieties Corporation to reflect its close association with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s apple and cherry breeding program at the Summerland research center. The company also represents private plant breeders and operates Canada’s only virus-free budwood orchard at Summerland. It supplies bud wood to nurseries and orchardists worldwide.
Ibuki said other reasons for changing the company name were that PICO was not a true acronym of its full name and the word had an unfortunate meaning in Chile, where the Santina cherry from Summerland is having huge success.