LOS ANGELES — Tom Arnold, director of the Food Industry Management program at the University of Southern California for 11 years, said last week he plans to leave the post to pursue other interests.
Arnold has been involved with the USC program for 27 years, originally teaching a course on computer data analysis that eventually led to development of a computer program that simulates competition for student teams.
Ed Hill, the former president and chief executive officer at Abco Markets, who has been a professor in the USC program for 11 years — teaching a course in organizations and strategy — said he will be retiring.
No successors have been named.
In one of his final official acts, Arnold presided over a graduation dinner for the students in this year's program — all middle-management personnel with various companies. He also presented the program's Food Industry Executive of the Year award to Laree Renda, executive vice president, chief strategist and chief administrative officer of Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif. — the first female executive given the award in the program's 51-year history.
In remarks to the graduates, Renda said this recessionary period is a good time to be in the industry. “Adversity in business can be the greatest challenge, so don't waste a crisis,” she said. “Don't let the economy get you down. It's easy to complain, but a better way to react to the challenges you face is to enhance the opportunities to learn and become more efficient.
“At Safeway, we're using this time to learn more about how to please customers and operate more efficiently because at the end, the economy will return to prosperity and we will be judged by how well we handled the challenge. So stay positive.”