Carmen Rottenberg, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service administrator is leaving the government after two decades of federal service.  Rottenberg, an attorney, is moving to the private sector.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of Paul Kiecker to serve the FSIS Administrator. Kiecker will be assuming the top job with Rottenberg’s departure.

“Ensuring the safety of America’s food supply is USDA’s most important responsibility and one that Carmen carried out with dedication and vision. I know she will continue her passion for food safety in the private sector,” said Perdue. “Carmen is a true public servant and ushered in an era of modernization at the Food Safety and Inspection Service. This mission and drive will continue and advance with Paul Kiecker in his new leadership role. USDA’s food safety team is the best in the world and works tirelessly to safeguard the food we serve our families every single day.”

Rottenberg served as Administrator since May of 2018 but led the agency since August of 2017. As administrator, Rottenberg spearheaded efforts to modernize the agency and implemented several key initiatives to target foodborne illness. Through her leadership and oversight, an unprecedented level of collaboration was achieved with federal, state and municipal agencies and other stakeholders.

Carmen Rottenburg

“My colleagues in FSIS are among the best and brightest in the federal government, and I am confident that the agency will continue to do right and feed everyone, long after my last day in this office,” Carmen Rottenberg said. “Each and every day our FSIS team displays an unparalleled commitment to decision making that is both protective of public health and supportable by science and data. They are public servants in the truest form of the term. It’s been a thrill and absolute joy to work with Secretary Perdue and this USDA team, and I’m so proud of all we have accomplished.

“I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work so closely with Carmen over the past year,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary Mindy Brashears. “Her leadership and food safety expertise will be greatly missed within the Department, but I am excited to see her succeed in her new ventures ahead. As we move ahead into 2020, I am confident in the direction of the agency as we have experienced senior staff who are ready to step into new leadership roles.”


Kiecker was named deputy administrator for the FSIS in May of 2018 and served as the Agency’s Acting Administrator until January of 2019. Throughout his 30 years with FSIS, he has been committed to a strong public health vision that has guided him to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities for improvement, manage resources efficiently, and achieve food safety objectives to prevent foodborne illness, according to the USDA announcement.

Since joining FSIS in 1988 as a food inspector, Kiecker has served in a number of roles at the agency, including Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Field Operations. He came to Washington D.C. to serve as Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations, after serving as the District Manager in Springdale, AR, and Madison, WI, as well as Deputy District Manager in Madison, WI. Kiecker’s experience with FSIS also includes work with the Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit, where he has served as a Compliance Investigator and as Supervisory Compliance Officer.

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