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Jerome Hoban, new CEO for the Alameda County Fair (Courtesy of Orange County Fair)

PLEASANTON -- The Alameda County Fair has hired a new CEO.

The fair board tapped Jerome Hoban, former chief executive officer for the Orange County Fair, to replace Rick Pickering, who left in December to become the California State Fair's general manager.

Hoban, 39, worked for the Orange County Fair -- one of the country's largest -- for more than 20 years in fair management and facility operations and also served as its vice president of operations. He was that fair's CEO in 2012.

He signed a contract with Alameda County on Sunday and starts in his new position May 20.

The Orange County Fair had attendance of 1.3 million in 2012. The Alameda County Fair drew 534,577 visitors last year.

Alameda County Fair board President Janet Lockhart said in seeking a replacement for Pickering -- who "set the bar high"-- the board wanted a chief executive who could help craft the fair's visioning plan.

"With Jerome, we found someone young enough and enthusiastic enough, and with the real world experience to make that happen," Lockhart said. "He can grow into a vision we have for the next 20 years."

Hoban graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's College of Agriculture Business, as well as Pepperdine University, where he earned a master's in business administration. The board selected him unanimously after a consulting firm whittled down a list from 54 original candidates.


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"It is a great privilege to be asked to lead the Alameda County Fair team," Hoban said in a news release. "The organization has a great reputation in the fair industry and in its community. I'm looking forward to being part of the fair's long history and tradition."

Hoban, who is married with two children, will make $194,000 annually. He will oversee the entire fair staff and will begin evaluating each department for the fair's long-term plan.

The theme for this year's 101st edition of the Alameda County Fair is "Summer Fun Starts Here," and runs from June 19 through July 7. The fair will be closed Mondays.

For a schedule of events and more information, go to www.alamedacountyfair.com or call 925-426-7600.

Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.