SAN DIEGO, CA (Special) -- National Cotton Council CEO Phillip C. Burnett announced that he will leave the Council to accept a position as President and CEO of The Seam, a newly organized, Memphis-based company engaged in electronic cotton marketing. The announcement was made during the Council's Annual Meeting of delegates.
Burnett told Council leaders that the decision was made with extremely mixed emotions.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my 12 years as Council CEO. It's a great organization, with exceptional industry and staff leadership," Burnett said. "I can't imagine a job that could have been more personally satisfying to me during my working career."
Council President Robert E. McLendon said, "The industry is indebted to Phil Burnett for the excellent leadership he has provided through the years. One of the best measures of leadership in any organization is the quality of staff the CEO assembles and maintains. Phil leaves the Council in excellent hands, with experienced, talented staff in every department. For this legacy, Phil has the sincere thanks of the Council's officers and Board."
McLendon said the Council Operating Committee expects to finalize and recommend to the Board a transition plan "that will draw on the strong, experienced staff we have in place.
"Our priorities are to maintain momentum in addressing key issues while assuring a smooth transition to new staff leadership. The industry will benefit from the solid senior staff that is in place."
In his announcement, Burnett said, "My focus this week is on the business of the Council. My first priority is to assist in the work of developing policy for the remainder of the year. There are a number of critical issues that must be resolved this week. Then we need to turn our attention to a smooth and efficient management transition.
"The Council has an experienced team of leadership and senior level staff in place to deal with these important issues. This is an exciting and challenging time for our industry, and I am committed to assist in any way possible in a transition to new staff leadership and to insuring that the Council continues to lead and serve this great industry."
In addition to the responsibilities as Council CEO, Burnett also served as CEO of Cotton Council International and as executive vice president of The Cotton Foundation. The Hollandale, MS, native first joined the Council in 1968 as a Field Services representative, assuming responsibilities for the Washington Operation in 1972. He left the Council in 1982 to serve as president of the Cotton Board, returning to the Council as CEO in 1989.
"My decision was prompted by what I see as an exceptional opportunity to join an organization whose principals are, themselves, among the cotton industry's more outstanding leaders. I fully expect The Seam to make a positive contribution to the economic health of the U.S. cotton industry, and I look forward to playing whatever role I can to facilitate that outcome."