40. GARY CHARTRAND, Chairman and CEO, Acosta Sales & Marketing
Key development: Expanding Acosta's partnerships and reach.
What's next: Increasing top-line growth in a difficult industry environment.
It's been a busy year for Gary Chartrand, who has been solidifying Acosta as one of the leading sales and marketing agencies in the world.
For one thing, Chartrand -- noted for building Acosta into the first major broker representing national consumer packaged goods manufacturer clients on a coast-to-coast basis -- is now setting the stage to go global. Anticipating the globalization of the food retailing industry, he has equipped Acosta to respond to client needs in a worldwide environment as necessary.
"They have smartly positioned themselves to take advantage of that opportunity as it arises," said Mark Baum, executive vice president, Grocery Manufacturers of America, Washington. "But globalization in the food, beverage and CPG industry is really more a concept than reality today."
Meanwhile, Chartrand has continued to develop a new business model for Acosta and its clients that includes a mix of marketing services like data synchronization and logistical support.
He has also continued on the acquisition path that has turned Acosta into a national powerhouse. Acosta has entered into a letter of intent with Tree of Life to acquire its subsidiary, Specialty Partners, a specialty and natural food sales and marketing company. It has signed a letter of intent to acquire Priority Food Brokers, a fresh food sales and marketing agency serving Baltimore and Washington. In addition, it has completed acquisitions of Infinity Food Marketing and Carman & Associates, two meat and seafood sales and marketing agencies serving Northern California and Safeway.
Yet Chartrand faces the challenge of going global in reach and influence, while retaining the quality of a local sales agency.
How does a company like Acosta, with such a wide range of services, maintain personal relationships with its clients?
"Probably one of the biggest challenges has been to get all the economies and efficiencies, without losing all of the entrepreneurial spirit and individuality of a local market base, which pre-eminently characterized the sales agency industry for much of its history," said Baum.
"[Acosta] has overcome that by continuing to invest in high-quality people -- account executives who really understand the products they represent and the requirements of their local market customers and consumers."
Chartrand's work outside of the sales boardroom has burnished his credentials to be among SN's Power 50, said Baum. "As important as his accomplishments within Acosta as a company are his own individual leadership characteristics. They may be a little less tangible, but they are no less important."
In the next year, Chartrand will be challenged to continue expanding Acosta's client base and services, while increasing top-line growth in a difficult industry environment and economy, said Baum. He thinks Chartrand is up to the task.\
Just as important, "he continues to look forward," noted Baum. "I think that is what the Power 50 is all about. It's not just what you've accomplished, but what you look forward to."
41. MILTON SENDER, Chairman and co-founder, Daymon Worldwide
Key development: Daymon clients attain private-label penetration levels above the industry average.
What's next: Educating future private-label executives.
Under the leadership of Milton Sender, Daymon Worldwide helped many of its domestic customers achieve more than a 30% penetration level in private label over the past year. What makes this particularly noteworthy is that the industry average is much lower. According to recent statistics released by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, private-label market share in domestic supermarkets was 20.7% in units and 16.3% in dollars in 2003.
"I think we're doing well. I think one of the reasons is we have always treated private label as a science rather than a happenstance art," Sender told SN.
In the past year alone, Sender has watched his organization develop and source new products, expand global sourcing initiatives, and add additional classes of trade to its portfolio, including the automotive and office supply industries.
Up next is helping to educate future generations of private-label executives through the newly established Daymon University, which kicked off its first course just yesterday. Twenty-six Daymon employees are attending the eight-day course, which includes lectures on the history of private label, a current industry overview, case studies and visits to some of Daymon's suppliers. Instructors are some of the powerhouses of the private-label genre, such as David Nichol, the master--mind behind Loblaw's President's Choice label. For now, the courses are being held at Daymon's headquarters, but Sender hopes for a separate education building in the future.
"It really has been a 30-year dream. I'm very excited about it. We expect to be able to teach what we know about private label to at least our little piece of the industry," he said.
What Sender and his organization have the ability to achieve in the future is monumental, according to Nichol.
"I think they have done a fabulous job, and I am amazed at the international work that they've done," Nichol told SN. "I think the potential for the firm is so much greater than they have achieved so far," he added.