ATLANTA -- CIES -- The Food Business Forum, a Paris-based global association, has elected Pierre-Olivier Beckers as its chairman for a two-year period.
Beckers, president and chief executive officer of Brussels, Belgium-based global retailer Delhaize Group, is at 42 the youngest chairman in the 49-year history of CIES.
He succeeds Roland Fahlin, outgoing chairman and member of the Ahold Supervisory Board.
During a press conference held here during the CIES World Food Business Summit, Beckers outlined a number of goals for his tenure. Those priorities include:
Improving cooperation between associations: The goal is to facilitate coordination between CIES and major associations throughout the world, including U.S. associations Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers of America, he said.
Advancing harmonization of industry standards: "These standards must happen now," Beckers said, referring to electronic standards that will serve as a backbone to initiatives such as the B2B exchanges.
Launching a campaign to improve the image of food retailing: "Retailing doesn't have the most positive image throughout the world," Beckers said. He said that poor image may promote challenges, including government restrictions on retail expansion, consumer protests over food-safety practices and a shrinking pool of people who want to work in retail. CIES hopes to analyze the problem and develop guidance for retailers on how to deal with these issues, he said.
Implementing the global food-safety initiative: A major priority will be making progress on the ongoing CIES-led global campaign to benchmark the best standards for food safety and build an effective early-warning system for retailers.
Expanding CIES' presence: The organization will open a regional office in japan to add to its network of global locations.