Paul Kiecker has been appointed to serve as administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced.

He will succeed Carmen Rottenberg, who is departing federal service after a career spanning two decades.

Paul Kiecker’s experience

Kiecker was named deputy administrator for the FSIS in May of 2018 and served as the agency’s acting administrator until January of 2019. Throughout his 30 years with FSIS, he has been committed to a strong public health vision that has guided him to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities for improvement, manage resources efficiently, and achieve food safety objectives to prevent foodborne illness.

Since joining FSIS in 1988 as a food inspector, Kiecker has served in a number of roles at the agency, including deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Field Operations. He came to Washington, D.C. to serve as executive associate for regulatory operations, after serving as the district manager in Springdale, Arkansas, and Madison, Wisconsin, as well as deputy district Manager in Madison. Kiecker’s experience with FSIS also includes work with the Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit, where he has served as a compliance investigator and as supervisory compliance officer.

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“Ensuring the safety of America’s food supply is USDA’s most important responsibility, and one that Carmen carried out with dedication and vision,” Perdue said. “Carmen is a true public servant and ushered in an era of modernization at the Food Safety and Inspection Service. This mission and drive will continue and advance with Paul Kiecker in his new leadership role. USDA’s food safety team is the best in the world and works tirelessly to safeguard the food we serve our families every single day.”

Carmen Rottenberg’s tenure

Rottenberg served as administrator since May 2018, but led the agency since August 2017. As administrator, Rottenberg spearheaded efforts to modernize the agency and implemented several key initiatives to target foodborne illness. Through her leadership and oversight, an unprecedented level of collaboration was achieved with federal, state and municipal agencies and other stakeholders.

“My colleagues in FSIS are among the best and brightest in federal government, and I am confident that the Agency will continue to “do right and feed everyone,” long after my last day in this office,” Rottenberg said. “Each and every day our FSIS team displays unparalleled commitment to decision making that is both protective of public health and supportable by science and data. They are public servants in the truest form of the term. It’s been a thrill and absolute joy to work with Secretary Perdue and this USDA team, and I’m so proud of all we have accomplished.”