The Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils (ISEO) announced that effective December 14, 2020, Kailee Tkacz Buller will join ISEO as the president. Tkacz Buller will succeed Robert Collette who is retiring after serving at the ISEO helm for over 13 successful years.  

Over the last three years Tkacz Buller has served various leadership roles at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) most recently serving as the Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky where she helped drive transformational change and operational efficiencies in human resources, budget, information technology, contracting, and customer service across the 100,000 employee Department.  She has played pivotal roles in the 2018 Farm Bill negotiations and implementation, renewable fuel policy, and departmental strategy on COVID-19. She served as the Chief of Staff of the Research, Education, and Economics Department as well as a Policy and Congressional Advisor to Secretary Sonny Perdue.  

Prior to her time at USDA, Tkacz Buller served in a variety of legislative and regulatory leadership roles at the Corn Refiners Association, SNAC International, and the National Grocers Association where she oversaw numerous committees, coalitions, and policy initiatives. She holds a Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential from the American Society of Association Executives and a Bachelor of Arts from the University at Buffalo.

"We are pleased to welcome Kailee to ISEO. She is a recognized strategic leader and visionary throughout the food industry supply chain. She understands our industry, our customers, and is well respected across Washington, D.C. She is the ideal person to lead ISEO into our next chapter in this increasingly challenging legislative and regulatory environment.”  said ISEO advisory committee chair and commercial vice president of AAK USA Inc., Dennis Tagarelli.

Tagarelli continued, “On behalf of the ISEO Board and member companies Bob has been a tremendous advocate for ISEO members throughout his tenure leading our segment of the food industry through a major transition away from partially hydrogenated oils containing trans fat to a wide variety of technically innovative alternative products. He also worked tirelessly to help assure that the implementing rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act and National Bioengineered Disclosure Standard were fair, reasonable and achievable for our industry.  I want to sincerely thank Bob for his dedication and service and wish him the very best as he embarks on the next chapter of his life in retirement”.

Collette said, “It has been an honor to work for the ISEO organization and its members. The support from ISEO’s Board and Committee members has been incredibly strong resulting in a truly collaborative association-wide effort on advocacy initiatives. Kailee, with her impressive skill set and experience will be excellent fit and will undoubtedly allow ISEO to not only continue but also expand upon its mission.”

Tkacz Buller said “I look forward to building on Bob’s successful legacy and for the opportunity to work alongside ISEO member companies to navigate both the opportunities and challenges ahead for the fats and oils industry in this ever-changing complex customer and regulatory environment. From the local level to the international level, I will tirelessly advocate for this industry and for the needs of its member companies that represent such an essential component of the food industry supply chain”.

Paul Miller and Michael Cooper, managing directors at Global Executive Search Firm Kincannon & Reed, conducted the 4-month search for ISEO president.