Doug O'Brien named next NCBA CLUSA president & CEO

Written by John Torres/NCBA CLUSA

Appointed by NCBA CLUSA's board of directors, Doug O'Brien will take the helm on January 1, 2018.Appointed by NCBA CLUSA's board of directors, Doug O'Brien will take the helm on January 1, 2018.Appointed by NCBA CLUSA's board of directors, Doug O'Brien will take the helm on January 1, 2018.The Board of Directors of the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Doug O’Brien as NCBA CLUSA’s next president and chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2018, replacing Judy Ziewacz who will retire on December 31, 2017.

“Doug’s strong track record in public policy, government program management, public/private partnerships, and his vision for the future will serve NCBA CLUSA well,” said Andrew Jacob, chairman of NCBA CLUSA’s board of directors. “On behalf of the entire board of directors, we congratulate Doug O’Brien on his selection. We look forward to working with him to advance cooperative businesses that build an inclusive economy.”

“I’m humbled to be part of NCBA CLUSA at this critical time,” said O’Brien. “Families, small businesses, and farmers have looked to cooperatives for generations to improve their income and secure their future. Now more than ever, we need to show people how cooperatives can be a solution to today’s challenges.”

With an extensive career focused on empowering people and communities in rural places, O’Brien joined NCBA CLUSA in November of 2016 as the Executive Vice President for Programs, overseeing the domestic and international work of the association.

“Doug has the unique combination of skills and experience to lead NCBA CLUSA into its next 100 years,” observed current President and CEO Ziewacz. “He has an appreciation for the diversity of cooperatives, their contributions in creating a strong and vital cooperative sector in the U.S. and globally, and the power of the cooperative principles to build a better world.”

Prior to joining NCBA CLUSA, O’Brien served as Senior Advisor for Rural Affairs on the White House Domestic Policy Council. In his role at the White House, O’Brien led the day-to-day work of the Council, which was chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture and composed of cabinet members from across the federal government. The council leveraged multiple agency programs to focus on job creation, rural manufacturing, and child poverty.

Prior to the White House, O’Brien served as Acting Under Secretary of Rural Development at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) where he led initiatives to create economic opportunities and improve the quality of life in rural communities. His international work includes serving as Chair of the Rural Working Group of the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD) where he reinvigorated the rural mission of this international body through research, peer learning, and sharing of best practices.

O’Brien has also served as Senior Advisor to governors, Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Counsel on the U.S. Senate Agricultural Committee. O’Brien has authored numerous articles for legal journals and was the lead co-author of a book on producer marketing associations. Raised on a diversified farm in Dubuque County, Iowa, O’Brien brings a unique perspective on rural and international economic development at both the state and federal levels.