Washington Apple Commission board members are hoping to interview a shortlist of three candidates for the position of president during their December 4 meeting. They plan to announce their selection the following day with the aim of having a person start work on January 1. Board members Mark Zirkle and Erick Hanson of Yakima and Dalton Thomas and Mike Hambelton of Wenatchee are on the search committee.

The main focus of the president’s job will be export promotions, the board has decided, although outreach to growers will also be important. They are looking for a strong leader, who has experience in the produce industry, is a good communicator and team builder, and is politically savvy.

The current president, Dave Carlson, was placed on paid administrative leave on September 1. His annual salary is $147,900. The commission has not said why it took that action.

Carlson said he understood that he would remain on administrative leave for six months, although the board has not communicated with him since announcing he would be placed on leave. He stopped work when Ken Severn was appointed interim ­president in early August.

The board has since made a number of staff changes:

Todd Fryhover, formerly projects manager, is now export operations director responsible for promotions and communications with export sales desks.

Rebecca Baerveldt, formerly export marketing manager, is in charge of strategic planning, government relations, and grant writing.

Robin Mooney, vice president and treasurer, also serves now as operations director.