MINNEAPOLIS — Crafting a new mission statement for Food Marketing Institute and planning the changes to the association's annual conference are among the biggest accomplishments Jeff Noddle points to during his two-year tenure as chairman of FMI.
Noddle, chairman and chief executive officer of Supervalu, based here, told SN he also helped the association develop a “more robust” associate member program “to provide trading partners more opportunities to work closely together in a cooperative environment.”
He also said the association launched a large-scale public affairs and communications campaign to combat credit- and debit-card interchange fees, which the industry sees as a growing problem.
One of Noddle's goals at the start of his tenure in 2005 was to improve the industry's ability to respond in times of disaster. To that end, FMI and the Grocery Manufacturers Association have worked out a plan based on past experiences to coordinate the delivery of relief supplies.
“When a disaster strikes, both organizations would draw upon their members in the affected area to identify needs, and then coordinate the movement of goods into the impact zones,” he said.
FMI also added a link to disaster response tools on its website (www.fmi.org), which is updated on a regular basis. In a major natural disaster, plans call for the most current information to be made available on the site.
Noddle said he believes the revamped FMI Show format, in which the association will rotate each year from a staging a traditional exhibit show to an educational forum and will move to different cities, will help strengthen FMI's role as an educator.
“I believe the rotating format and venue provides FMI a tremendous opportunity to become the repository for education and training, which is much needed in the industry,” he said. “The changes were made in response to the needs of FMI's members and the needs within the industry, and it creates a wonderful opportunity to rethink its services and support.”
The start of Noddle's second year as chairman was punctuated by his company's $17 billion acquisition of most of the Albertsons chain, which Supervalu is still attempting to digest.
Steve Smith, president and CEO of K-VA-T Food Stores, who is taking over as chairman of FMI, applauded Noddle for his ability to handle both the merger and the FMI chairmanship.
“Jeff and his folks have done a good job, especially given the situation Jeff's had over the last year and a half,” Smith said. “I can't imagine the pressure he's been under with that acquisition, and still be able to take the time with FMI and to share his thoughts with me.”
Noddle credited his fellow managers for getting him through the situation.
“As with anything in life, you need good people and good organizations to help you with multiple responsibilities, and I truly had that, from everyone in the new Supervalu and in the FMI staff as well,” he said.