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Henwood Steps Down At LA County Fair, Ortiz Named Interim CEO

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — The Board of Directors for Los Angeles County Fair Association (LACFA) announced today that longtime CEO Jim Henwood has decided to step down from his post, effective March 30th.

Michael Ortiz, Chair of the Board and former president of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, will take over running the fair in an interim role until a permament replacement can be found.

Ortiz has been a Board member of LACFA Board since 2003 and Chairman of the Board since 2014. Now retired, Ortiz previously served as the fifth president of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona from August 2003 to October 2014. He served on several board committees including By-laws, Visioning and Pomona Blue Ribbon Committee. He continues in an advisory role at Cal Poly Pomona for agricultural and education programs.

"I am honored to step into the role of Interim CEO during this time of transition," said Ortiz. "Jim Henwood was hired 20 years ago to continue the great tradition of the LA County Fair, promote LACFA's agricultural and education programs – as well as to develop LACFA into an economic engine for the region and a dynamic asset to the community. With Board support, I want to help the organization maximize our current programs and resources."

In June 2015, Henwood announced to the Board his plans to leave the LACFA at the end of 2016 when his contract expired. He has been working with the Board on a transition plan and a search for his successor was launched in the fall of 2015. Recently Henwood informed the Board of his preference to step down early to allow for an interim leader to assume the position.

"I am very proud of my 20-year tenure at LACFA and have seen this organization through great growth and innovation. However, lately I have become a distraction from the great work that LACFA does. I love this organization too much to let that happen. Accelerating a change in leadership will allow LACFA to refocus on its important role in the community," Henwood said. – Staff Writers