Booker succeeds Phillip C. Burnett, who announced his resignation effective March 1 to join the electronic cotton marketing firm, The Seam, Inc., of Memphis, as President and Chief Executive Officer.
"After carefully evaluating options for maintaining the strongest possible staff, especially during the period of new farm policy development, the Board asked Gaylon Booker to forego retirement and accept the position effective March 1," said James E. Echols, newly elected Chairman of the NCC.
"I am pleased that Gaylon is willing to assume this responsibility at a critical time for the industry, enabling us to continue the business of the Council without the distraction of a search committee immediately working to find a successor. The industry is fortunate to have a person with Gaylon's experience in policy development and administration to step in and help maintain momentum and facilitate a smooth transition in staff leadership."
In electing Booker to the top staff position, the Board acted on a recommendation from the Council's Operations Committee.
Booker, who has been with the Council his entire 40-year working career, served as Senior Vice President from 1988. He announced his retirement at the end of 2000 and was scheduled to fill a consultant's role as the Council addressed farm policy and other industry priorities.
"I look forward to this new opportunity in my career with the Council," said Booker. "I will rely on a strong foundation of senior level staff and exceptional industry leadership as together we focus on new farm policy and other industry priorities in the months ahead."
As Senior Vice President, Booker was responsible for coordinating all programs of the Council, with the overall mission of helping each of the U.S. cotton industry's seven segments compete effectively and profitably in global markets. Before being named to that position, he served as Vice President of Operations.
Earlier, Booker headed the Economic Services Department of the Council, where he directed activities relating to world supply and demand for cotton and other fibers, and conducted special studies on inter-fiber competition. He joined the Council staff as a market analyst in 1961.
A native Mississippian, Booker is a graduate of the University of Memphis. He is married to the former Elsie White of Water Valley, Miss., and they have three children.