WASHINGTON – After a 27-year career with the meat and poultry industry trade group, Janet Riley, vice president of public affairs with the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), will be leaving her position to work as vice president of communications with Maple Leaf Foods Inc. in Toronto, Canada. News of Riley’s departure was shared with NAMI members in an Oct. 16 announcement from Julie Anna Potts, the association’s new president and CEO.

“Janet’s departure is bittersweet news for NAMI members and staff,” Potts wrote in the announcement. “I am certain we will continue to draw on Janet’s expertise on issues ranging from animal welfare to sustainability to crisis management.”

Janet Riley, vice president of communications with Meat Leaf Foods

Referencing Riley’s many contributions during her decades-long tenure at NAMI, Potts praised her for frequently serving as the voice for the industry during times of crisis in addition to serving as a versatile information and educational resource for members. Besides serving on the NAMI Crisis Management Team, Riley has also led the NAMI Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and in 2000, was honored with the institute’s Industry Advancement Award after leading its Nitrite Issues Management Program. She also led the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, which she founded in 1994. In addition, she served in a management role for NAMI’s membership and education departments as well as the association’s IT department and production center.  

“I am grateful that Janet will be working with me on the transition as part of the NAMI staff until the end of the year,” Potts wrote. “Janet and I and the public affairs team will not miss a beat as we move ahead.”

In a letter to the NAMI board of directors announcing her resignation, Riley expressed her appreciation.

“Working with the Meat Institute team, past and present, has been such a joy. Equally meaningful has been the opportunity serve some of the finest people in the world: you, the members. I deeply admire your work ethic and dedication to feeding the world and I’m excited to join you in that endeavor as a member,” she wrote.   

“Thank you for the faith you’ve placed in me to represent you on good days (like Hot Dog Day!) and bad days (like December 23, 2003 and a few others),” she added. “Few people in Washington are permitted to push the communications envelope the way the institute has allowed me to do.”

Another institute executive, Randy Huffman, Ph.D., former president of the American Meat Institute Foundation, joined Maple Leaf in 2009 as chief food safety officer. Huffman was appointed chief food safety and sustainability officer in 2017.