From Virginia A. Smith at the Phila
Jane G. Pepper, who transformed the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society into a national model for "greening" neighborhoods, parks, and public spaces over three decades of leadership, will retire as president after the 2010 Philadelphia Flower Show. An emotional Pepper, 63, told the staff yesterday at a meeting in the society's Center City offices, even as she announced six layoffs and 5 percent pay cuts for senior managers, 10 percent for herself. Pepper makes $200,000 a year. A national search for her successor will launch in June." I have been so lucky to have this job. I will always treasure it," she said in an interview yesterday. Pepper's departure will be huge. With her trademark pixie haircut, boldly colored blazers, and round glasses, she is the unmistakable public face of the horticultural society and its best-known endeavors: Philadelphia Green, the urban-gardening component, and the Flower Show, the nation's oldest and most prestigious. While the Philadelphia show reliably draws about 250,000 visitors, raises $1 million for the society, and pumps $30 million into the city economy annually, several smaller shows around the country succumbed to the economy this year, and others are struggling.