After 38 years as president of the National Chicken Council (NCC), George Watts will be retiring from the position on March 31, 2011.

"The NCC officers have accepted [Watts'] decision to retire with great regret," said Chairman Bernard Leonard. According to Watts, his decision to step down is due to a temporary medical condition that will limit his ability to travel and fully focus on his duties as president.

"I am grateful to the leadership of the NCC over the years for the support I have received," said Watts. "In addition, I am pleased to have had the opportunity to lead a staff that has been with me on this path for so many years." Watts became NCC president in 1972, after working in staff positions for members of Congress.

The search for Watts' replacement will be handled by executive recruitment firm Kincannon & Reed. “The NCC Executive Committee selected Kincannon & Reed in view of its experience in finding qualified candidates for top executive positions in agriculture, the life sciences, and associations,” said Leonard. “We fully expect that finding a suitable replacement for George will be challenging, so we want to cast a wide net and work with an experienced and capable firm.”