The National Grocers Association (NGA) Board of Directors voted unanimously to appoint John Ross, president and CEO at IGA Inc., and Larry Pierce, EVP of merchandising and marketing at SpartanNash, to fill vacancies on the board during the organization’s Fall Leadership Meetings. Ross was appointed to an ex-officio seat, replacing IGA Inc. Chairman and former president and CEO Mark Batenic. Pierce will fill an unexpired term of Derek Jones, a former SpartanNash EVP.
“Both Larry and John have a great deal of experience, and are widely recognized as leaders in the food retail industry,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA. “We’re pleased to welcome them to the board at such a crucial time for independent grocers as we develop future strategies to advance the independent supermarket industry.”
Ross was named president and CEO of IGA Inc., the world’s largest independent supermarket network with nearly 5,000 IGA supermarkets in more than 30 countries worldwide, representing $36 billion per year in sales. Previously, Ross was president of Inmar Promotion Network, headed the Emerging Media Lab for global agency holding company Interpublic Group, founded IPG’s Shopper Sciences, and spent 11 years with Home Depot in various marketing roles.
Pierce was named EVP of merchandising and marketing for SpartanNash in July 2014, a position he held on an interim basis since August 2013. Previously, Pierce was the VP of center store merchandising for six years. He joined the company in 2008 after serving in a variety of positions with Coca-Cola Enterprises, including VP of sales for the supermarket’s mass and convenience channels.
More than 300 meetings held
The NGA Fall Leadership Meetings, sponsored by First Data and FMS Solutions Holding LLC, were held in conjunction with the NACS Show in Chicago, Oct. 17-20. More than 300 senior-level meetings between retailers and wholesalers with manufacturers and service suppliers took place during the Trading Partner Business Sessions at the event.
The Trading Partner Business Sessions connected independent food retailers with trading partners in the consumer packaged goods, distribution, financial operations and service providers space to discuss mutual business opportunities, strategies and goals.
“This one-of-a-kind opportunity between key players in the independent supermarket industry is crucial to strengthening business relationships and fostering deeper industry collaboration,” said Larkin. “We thank our longtime industry partners at First Data and FMS for helping us provide independent supermarket operators with this important networking opportunity.”
The NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. The independent grocery sector is accountable for close to one percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating $131 billion in sales, 944,000 jobs, $30 billion in wages and $27 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers, state grocers associations, as well as manufacturers and service suppliers.
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