(May 18) SALINAS, Calif. — For the first time in its 77-year history, the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California has appointed a woman to lead the group’s board.

Kay Filice, partner of Filice Farms LP, Hollister, became the board’s chairwoman May 17 at the association’s annual board meeting, when present chairman Joe Pezzini stepped down as his one-year term expired.

“Joe has done an extraordinary job under extraordinary circumstances,” said Jim Bogart, president and general counsel. “There are key moments in any organization’s history where it’s critical that you have the right person at the right moment. We were blessed that we had Joe as our chairman this year.”

Filice has served as vice chairwoman of the association for the past year and Bogart described her new role as a watershed moment for the organization.

“There are some extraordinary women involved in agriculture and one of the things I wanted to achieve during my tenure as president was to have a woman lead the organization,” he said. “But it had to be the right person at the right time and I think Kay possesses remarkable qualities of leadership and acumen that make her perfect for the job.”