Fair Food Network CEO Oran Hesterman to step down

Susan S. Johnson

Fair Food Network’s founder Oran Hesterman will step down as CEO in January after seeing Double Up Food Bucks, a public-private local produce purchasing program developed under his watch to grow community health and wealth, expand to 28 states.

Hesterman, 70, will transition into the supporting role of “resident champion” for the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit, continuing to collaborate with funders, policymakers and others to effect food systems change and mentor the next generation of leaders in the organization.

Kate Krauss, who joined the nonprofit seven years ago and was named executive director after four years, will succeed him.

Though the succession wasn’t exactly planned, Hesterman said he had the thought in his head when he hired Krauss that he was looking for qualities in someone who could be the organization’s next leader.

“Knowing I would be stepping out of the CEO role, it became clear to me Kate had all of the qualities needed … (and) if the board chose to select somebody internal to the organizations we had the right person here,” he said.

Having an internal person who really knows the organization and has helped it run it for the past few years succeed him as CEO helps partners and funders, “to know there is a consistency and stability in place as this leadership change happens.”

As Krauss, 46, takes the helm of the $18 million organization, she plans to build on the success of the Double Up Food Bucks program by looking for additional opportunities to redirect federal funding “to the nooks and crannies of the food business,” she said.

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