The new year will bring a new leader to the U.S. Apple Association with Jim Bair as president and chief executive officer.

Bair is scheduled to start with the Vienna, Va., association in early January, said Wendy Brannen, public relations and consumer health director.

Bair succeeds Nancy Foster, who left the association in late August after 11 years when her contract was not renewed. Chris Britton, association chairman, said the separation was amicable. Diane Kurrle, vice president of public affairs, has been serving as the interim leader for the association since September.

For almost 25 years Bair worked for the North American Millers Association, first as director of government relations and most recently as vice president. The organization represents millers in the U.S. and Canada.

Earlier in his career, Bair was a White House appointee with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection Service and was marketing director for the Kansas Wheat Commission.

Britton said in a news release that Bair’s experience in agriculture and proven leadership put him over the top during the search for a new CEO and president.

“We feel like we found a person who can lead the association for many years to come,” Britton said in the release.

The association represents all segments of the apple industry, including 40 state and regional apple associations representing 7,500 apple growers.