CHICAGO -- Food Marketing Institute here said last week its board of directors has approved the proposal for Food Distributors International to become a part of FMI.
FDI's board of governors approved the merger in March. John R. Block, FDI chairman and chief executive officer, said FDI has already sent proxies to its 220 member companies to vote on the proposal, with a favorable vote anticipated.
"Ten of the proxies have already been sent back to us, and all voted in favor of the move," Block told SN here last week.
He said all proxies must be returned by June 12, with an announcement of the results to follow shortly after that. As previously disclosed, once FDI joins FMI, the International Foodservice Distributors Association, which is currently linked with FDI, will become a stand-alone organization.
Under the merger plan, FDI's wholesale member companies will join an umbrella organization with members of FMI, with Block serving as president of FMI's new wholesale division and as executive vice president of FMI.
The new wholesale division will have its own advisory board of directors, FMI said.
To ensure that the priorities of the wholesale segment receive full consideration in the merged organization, FMI said the FDI chairman and immediate past chairman will become members of FMI's executive committee; in addition, an unspecified number of wholesale board members will be added to the FMI board.
FMI said the merger is scheduled to be completed by Jan. 1, 2003, with all FMI and FDI programs and events set for the rest of this year proceeding as scheduled.
Going forward, FMI said last week:
FDI's Midyear Executive Conference will be merged into FMI's Midwinter Executive Conference.
FDI's Productivity Convention will continue to be held in the fall, although FMI will form an advisory committee from its Distribution Conference committee to seek a consolidation of the two events.
FDI's annual Vendex and Business Conference, held in the spring, will continue on its current schedule.
FMI's membership will be encouraged to participate in both the annual Business Conference and the annual Productivity Convention.
FDI's magazine and associate member program will be integrated into the combined association.
The annual Thomas Jefferson awards, currently awarded by FDI and IFDA, will be jointly sponsored by FMI and IFDA.
FMI also revealed that the Independent Operators Committee, which has been an FMI division for one year, "has been elevated [through a change in its bylaws], and it will now have its own board of directors."
FMI's directors approved the merger plan on Saturday, May 4, the day before the start of FMI's annual convention here. Addressing the meeting at the Speaks general session here Sunday, Tim Hammonds, FMI president and CEO, said he is projecting a yes-vote by FDI's membership.
"This is not just a case of one organization being absorbed by another," Hammonds said, "because FDI will have its own board of directors within the new organization so the wholesale members can deal with their own priorities."