Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation (JBF), announced today that Frederic M. Seegal, a senior advisor at Peter J. Solomon Company, has been elected as chair of the nonprofit’s board of trustees. Seegal, who has been on the JBF board for a decade, including the last five years as vice chair, will assume the role from Emily Luchetti, effective immediately.

Luchetti, a two-time James Beard Award–winning pastry chef and chief pastry officer for Big Night Restaurant Group, was elected as chair of the JBF board in 2012. She will transition to chair emeritus. The following existing and new board of trustee appointments are Michael Phillips, president, Jamestown Properties, board vice chair; Nancy Lukitsh, retired partner and senior vice president, Wellington Management Company LLP, board vice chair; and treasurer; and Erica Gruen, principal, Quantum Media, board secretary.

“In my time serving on the board under Susan and Emily’s leadership, the Foundation has done an extraordinary job of becoming both a global brand and an indispensable organization for chefs and other culinary leaders on food policy–related issues,” says Seegal. “My goal is to leverage our position as the most prestigious culinary arts nonprofit in the world and to continue expanding the progress we have made in all areas of thought leadership.” 

In addition to the James Beard Foundation, Seegal has worked with a number of not-for-profit organizations, including as chairman of the Parrish Art Museum; and trustee of the New York City Center, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Neuberger Museum. He was also president of the American Ballet Theater. Among his many senior roles in investment banking, Seegal was president of Wasserstein Perella from 1994 to 2001.     

“I’m delighted to be handing over leadership of the board to Fred. His past service as vice chair has uniquely prepared him for this new role,” says Luchetti. “It has been an honor leading this vibrant and dedicated governance team in continuing to expand the diversity of our scholarship programs, launching the Women’s Culinary Leadership programs, and helping shape the JBF Impact Programs.” 

As chair, Seegal will preside over all meetings of the board and have general charge and supervision of the affairs of the James Beard Foundation.

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