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FARMINGTON – The board of directors for the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry named a new CEO on Friday.

The board approved the selection of Wilton R. Charley as CEO during a regular board meeting, according to a NAPI press release.

“I am excited to be selected as CEO for NAPI,” Charley said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon.

He added that he looks forward to continuing to move the tribal enterprise in a positive direction and providing a “collaborative environment for our Navajo work force.”

Charley succeeds Lionel Haskie, who was named interim CEO on Nov. 13 after the board did not renew the contract of then-CEO Tsosie Lewis. Lewis had been CEO since 2002, and his contract was previously renewed in 2011.

According to Friday's press release, the board advertised the CEO position and sought applicants.

Charley said he applied for the job because, “I felt I had the necessary skills and ability."

As CEO, he will oversee about 300 employees and continue the effort to fulfill NAPI's strategic initiatives.

“Mr. Charley brings to NAPI a well-developed approach to strategic planning with the stated objectives of increasing productivity and providing strong leadership to NAPI’s management team,” the release states.

Charley, who is a member of the Navajo Nation, began his career with NAPI in 1998 in the operations and maintenance department, where he eventually was promoted to department manager.

During his nine years at the tribal enterprise, Charley's responsibilities included overseeing the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project Public Law 638 departments and working with the NIIP-Bureau of Indian Affairs office and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation office in Farmington.

In 2014, he participated in and completed the Leadership San Juan program at San Juan College.

Charley is returning to NAPI after seven years of employment at Raytheon's Diné facility.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

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