|Lehr Led Effort to Launch FARE, Unify Food Allergy Organizations
MCLEAN, VA (AUGUST 4, 2014) – Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) CEO John Lehr today announced his resignation more than two years after leading the successful merger of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) to form FARE. Lehr’s accomplishments, including record fundraising and the creation of a national field operation, were credited by the FARE Board of Directors with positioning the organization for continued success. Lehr will officially leave his position on August 30. FARE has launched a comprehensive search for its new CEO and has appointed James Baker, MD, Interim CEO.
In April 2012, FAAN and FAI announced they would come together to establish FARE, creating a unified voice that strengthened the commitment to find a cure for food allergies while keeping individuals with food allergies safe and included. Lehr was appointed as the first CEO of FARE and set to work on uniting the organizations to move forward as a single, stronger champion for individuals and families managing food allergies.
“More than two years ago, we made the decision to merge FAAN and FAI and while we were confident in the decision, we knew it was an ambitious undertaking that would require the right leadership. That is why we brought on John as the first CEO of FARE,” said Janet Atwater, Vice Chair and Secretary of the FARE Board of Directors. “As we look back at John’s tenure and his tremendous accomplishments, we can say with absolute certainty that he was the right person at the right time and we are fortunate to have had his thoughtful guidance during the critical launch phase of FARE.”
Lehr’s record of accomplishments includes overseeing the development of FARE’s brand, the launch of FARE’s new award-winning website, the creation of a national field operation with six offices across the country, the expansion of grassroots fundraising opportunities, and the achievement of exceeding previous fundraising records for luncheons, the FARE Walk for Food Allergy program, and major gifts. With Lehr at the helm, FARE raised more than $16.5 million in 2013 to support important food allergy research, education, advocacy and awareness initiatives, which represents an increase of more than 25 percent over the combined total raised by FARE’s legacy organizations in 2012.
“The transformation of FARE and the food allergy community over the past two years has been truly remarkable, and I thank the great team at FARE and our dedicated Board members, volunteers and donors who gave their time and resources and worked long hours to make the world better for individuals and families managing food allergies,” said Lehr. “I am so proud to have been a part of the success of FARE, and believe that this is the right time for me to move on to a new business opportunity, and to pass the torch on to new leadership that will guide the organization through its next cycle of growth.”
FARE announced the appointment of Interim CEO James Baker effective August 31. Lehr and Baker will work together over the next several weeks to ensure a smooth continuation of FARE’s programs and initiatives. Baker is a member of FARE’s Research Advisory Board and has been serving as FARE’s Interim Chief Medical Officer. A board-certified allergist, Baker previously served as SVP and Global Vaccine Head at Merck Corporation, Director of the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Michigan, CEO of NanoBio Corporation, and Division Chief and Professor of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the University of Michigan, where he started the Food Allergy Research Center, among other roles. The Board also has retained a leading executive search firm to conduct a comprehensive search for a permanent CEO to ensure FARE again has the right leadership for the organization’s next chapter.
“The Board is deeply appreciative of John’s tremendous contributions to FARE and we wish him all the best in his new endeavors,” said Atwater. “We are excited about the solid foundation and momentum he has created, and we look forward to an exciting future as FARE begins implementing its Vision and Plan for Food Allergy Research and continues to build on its world-class food allergy education, advocacy and awareness programs.”
For more information about FARE and its programs, visit www.foodallergy.org.