(Aug. 5) A former Cargill Inc. executive has been selected president and chief executive officer of the Almond Board of California, Modesto.

Richard Waycott, who worked as vice president and general manager of Cargill’s Mercosur Ag Producer Serv-ices in Sao Paulo, Brazil, succeeds Rodger Wasson, who left in May after a decade at the helm to become president of the California Strawberry Commission, Watsonville.

Waycott, who will begin work Sept. 23, said one of his goals was to raise demand for almonds not just in the U.S., but worldwide.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to serve as the ambassador for such an innovative and well-respected in-dustry,” Waycott said. “New markets for almonds are expanding and breakthrough nutritional and medical benefits are becoming known.”

In the past five years, U.S. almond consumption has increased 57%, and domestic retail sales of products that contain almonds has increased 31%.

In October, scientists reported that an ounce of almonds a day significantly increases the amount of vitamin E in the bloodstream. Vitamin E has been linked to cardiovascular health.

Ned Ryan, chairman of the Almond Board of California, said Waycott’s duties would include oversight of do-mestic and international promotion, nutrition and production research, almond quality and safety and statistics reporting.

“Richard embodies all the qualities required to continue the industry’s unprecedented growth,” Ryan said.

Most recently, Waycott worked as a co-managing partner and board of directors vice president of Produmilk CA, a Venezuelan soybean milk product company. He has 24 years of experience in food and commodity man-agement.

As president and chief executive officer of the Almond Board of California, Waycott will oversee a $17 million budget, a staff of 24 and a volunteer board of 10.