SOUTHHAMPTON, Bermuda -- Cloudy skies and showers did not dampen the resolve of Food Distributors International at its final Midyear Executive Conference here Sept. 19-21. FDI executives told the 299 members in attendance that the organization stands to wield greater clout as it becomes the wholesale division of the Food Marketing Institute in January.
DI president and chief executive officer, and Tim Hammonds, FMI president and CEO, delivering progress reports on the consolidation, members were treated to a video retrospective of important FDI milestones over the last century.
In outlining the new model under FMI, Block told members, "I don't consider that FDI will fade into the sunset. We made decisions together that will help strengthen our members and the industry in the years ahead, and we'll continue to support and provide leadership that wholesalers deserve."
As previously reported, Block will become executive vice president of FMI and president of its new wholesale division.
Jeff Noddle, chairman and CEO, Supervalu, Minneapolis, is first vice chairman of FDI. He will become chairman of FMI's wholesale division. Also elected to the division are Richard Parkinson, president and CEO of Associated Food Stores, Salt Lake City, who will become first vice chairman and Ron Marshall, chairman, president and CEO of Nash Finch, Minneapolis, who will become second vice chairman.
Hammonds called the consolidation the "first major merger in the food industry of its type in a quarter of a century." The process has come together like magic, he said.
"This is the kind of model that lets a great organization move into a new future without having to abandon any of the wonderful traditions, the wonderful strengths and the wonderful governance structure that you have developed so carefully over the years," he said.
The wholesale division will operate with an Advisory Board, and the Government Affairs, Industry Relations and Research and Education committees will be dedicated to wholesalers' issues, noted Block.
As many as 18 wholesalers could sit on the FMI Board, he said. Eight wholesalers already serve on the board.
FDI brings several revenue-producing business events that don't duplicate other FMI meetings. These include the Productivity Convention & Expo, Oct. 20-30, Atlanta, and the Annual Business Conference, March 1-4, 2003, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. FDI's Midyear Executive Conference will be folded into FMI's Midwinter Executive Conference, Jan. 12-14, 2003, Boca Raton, Fla.
Block also named FDI staff moving over to FMI. They included Emily Beavers, who will remain as executive assistant to Block; Paul Schultz, senior vice president, who will be responsible for the Annual Business Conference and assist with the Productivity Convention; and Mary Griff, who becomes a comptroller at FMI. Bob Gatty and David Coia will be responsible for a newly launched industry magazine. Gatty also will be responsible for the Food FleetXchange.