Citrus Agency Gives Nod To Publix Official for Post
Lakeland Ledger – December 16, 2011
A divided Florida Citrus Commission search committee voted to recommend Publix executive Douglas Ackerman to become the next executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus.
The search committee voted 4-2 to make the recommendation to the nine-member Citrus Commission, which will meet Wednesday. All six committee members are also citrus commissioners, and Ackerman will need five votes to win the job.
Commissioners Mike Garavaglia Jr., a Fort Pierce packinghouse executive, and Michael Haycock, an executive with Tropicana Products Inc., the state’s largest orange juice processor, voted against hiring Ackerman because of his inexperience. Both said they would like to restart the three-month search process.
“He’s never run an organization like this,” Haycock said of Ackerman, a marketing manager at Publix Super Markets Inc. in Lakeland. “I think going from supervising two people to running an organization with 60 people and a $57 million budget is a big step.”
Haycock also noted the committee had agreed it wanted someone with a strong marketing background in the beverage industry and that most of Ackerman’s background is with restaurant chains. Since joining Publix in June 2005, Ackerman has managed business units including dry grocery; liquor, beer, wine and snacks; frozen foods; dairy; and convenience stores, according to his resume.
The Bartow-based Citrus Department is a state agency charged with promoting Florida citrus products, primarily orange juice.