The administrator of the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Kevin Shea on Thursday named Michael Watson as an associate administrator of the agency and made several other personnel changes. Watson had been serving as associate deputy administrator for APHIS’ Marketing and Regulatory Programs Business Services. Watson succeeds Jere Dick, who retired.

Watson will carry out the agency’s day-to-day operations, work with stakeholders and employees, and oversee the activities of every APHIS program area and support unit, Shea said. There are two APHIS associate administrators and Mike Gregory holds the other position.

Watson has a doctoral degree in plant pathology. Before joining APHIS’ Biotechnology Regulatory Services in 2003, he worked for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.

Davidson, associate deputy administrator for veterinary services overseeing National Import Export Services, will take over Watson’s previous position. Davidson has spent the past 19 years with Veterinary Services and will now be responsible for APHIS internal business operations. Before joining APHIS in 1998, Davidson spent two years with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. He has held positions with Veterinary Services in the regional office in Fort Collins, Colorado and at headquarters.