Kenneth Quinn, 76, plans to retire as president of the World Food Prize Foundation on Jan. 3 after 20 years on the job.

The former ambassador to Cambodia has held the World Food Prize post since 1999. 

“If there was a Mount Rushmore dedicated to the World Food Prize, there would have to be room for Ambassador Ken Quinn’s likeness along with that of Dr. Norman Borlaug and John Ruan,” Tom Vilsack, former U.S. secretary of agriculture, said in a statement. Ruan was the Des Moines businessman who pushed for a prize that would recognize Iowa’s importance in world agriculture. 

The World Food Prize honors people who are fighting world hunger. “What at first seemed an impossible quest, to have the World Food Prize come to be seen as the ‘Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture,’ has over the last 20 years become a dream come true,” Quinn said at an event noting the 105th anniversary of prize founder Norman Borlaug’s birth. Borlaug, a plant pathologist, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.

Quinn was a member of the “Sages Over 70” class in 2015, and was featured in dsm Magazine.

A national firm is helping search for Quinn’s successor.