The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which has shed some its major members over the past year, is now losing President and CEO Pamela Bailey, who is resigning after a decade at the helm of the organization.

Bailey will continue to manage GMA while the board of directors conducts a search for her successor, the group said in a news release. Leslie Hortum of Spencer Stuart has been retained to lead the search.

“GMA’s members are dedicated to improving the quality of life for their consumers and they are fortunate to be led by a dedicated board of industry leaders, committed to ensuring the association can help its members continuously improve the health, safety, affordability and sustainability of their products,” Bailey said. “As GMA’s board continues to engage in the reinvention process to build the association of the future to meet the consumer needs of the future, it is best that they do so in concert with their leader of the future. I look forward to continuing to work with the GMA board as they engage in that process to identify that leader.”

GMA has lost some of its major members recently. Campbell Soup Co. and Nestle left the group last year. Companies that have left since then include Dean Foods, Mars, Tyson Foods, Unilever, and, most recently, Kraft Heinz Co. and DowDuPont, according to Politico.

“We want to thank Pam for all her hard work during her nearly 10 years at GMA,” said Chris Policinski, chairman of the GMA board of directors and president and CEO of Land O’Lakes. “Her leadership was valuable during an evolving time in the industry. As the industry evolution continues, GMA’s board is committed to building an association that is the leading voice for a major sector of our nation’s economy and that works collaboratively with industry and consumer partners to address our challenges ahead.”

The announcement of Bailey’s departure follows close on the heels of the group’s announcement of the hiring of Brian Folkerts as executive vice president of government affairs. Most recently, Folkerts served as vice president of public and government affairs for Mondelez International from 2012 to 2016. He also led the confirmation effort for Sonny Perdue to become secretary of agriculture.

Folkerts replaces Denzel McGuire, who left GMA earlier this month after four years in the executive vice president job. 

In its news release on Bailey’s departure, GMA said:

“During Bailey’s tenure, GMA led the industry in supporting modernization of the nation’s food and product safety laws and regulations. This work resulted in passage of the historic Food Safety Modernization Act, reforms to the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) review process and passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act, which made important improvements to the nation’s chemicals management laws.

“Under her leadership, GMA was a vital voice in support of a federal law setting a uniform national standard for required disclosure of food and beverage ingredients from biotechnology. The 2016 passage of this law with broad bipartisan support was recognized as one of the top lobbying victories of the year.

“In addition, GMA has worked with the Food Marketing Institute, which represents retailers, on major industry-wide initiatives to ensure consumers have the tools and information they need to make choices for their families. These include SmartLabel®, the innovative digital disclosure tool to give consumers more information than can fit on a label; Facts Up Front, the landmark voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling system; and a Product Code Dating initiative to reduce consumer confusion by streamlining more than a dozen different product code dates to just two.

“Prior to joining GMA, Bailey led the work of three national trade associations, serving as founding President and CEO of the Healthcare Leadership Council; President and CEO of AdvaMed, the Advanced Medical Technology Association, and President and CEO of the Personal Care Products Council. Earlier in Bailey’s career, she served in the White House for three presidents.”

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