November 5 -- American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) chairman James E. Matthews Jr. of the H.J. Heinz Company announced Robert L. Garfield has assumed the role of interim president of AFFI following the resignation of Leslie G. Sarasin. Garfield takes over for Sarasin who, earlier this month, accepted the position of president and CEO of the Food Marketing Instit.

"We at AFFI are fortunate to have someone with Bob's level of experience to step into this leadership role. His familiarity with the AFFI membership and broad knowledge of the issues currently facing the industry will help ensure a smooth transition as we identify a permanent successor," Matthews said. "Under his direction, AFFI will continue to provide outstanding service representing the interests of the frozen food industry and advancing the goals of its members."

Garfield, a 16-year veteran at AFFI, most recently served as senior vice president of public policy and international affairs. In this role, Garfield oversaw all facets of public advocacy, including AFFI's work as industry liaison to the regulatory agencies, legislative offices and the media.

Prior to joining AFFI in 1992, Garfield served as director of technical services at the International Dairy Association for five years. He also served as fluid products plant manager for Richfood, Inc., fluid milk plant manager for Dairylea Inc., and held separate positions as manager of industrial engineering and bottling operations at United Vintners.

Garfield holds a business degree from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in agricultural sciences from California State University, Fresno.

AFFI's board of directors has formed a search committee to recruit candidates for permanent leadership. The search committee will be headed by AFFI chairman James Matthews and comprised of AFFI's executive committee.

From the November 10, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash