CHICAGO, Ill. (Oct. 19, 2017) – The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, today announced over 300 senior level meetings between retailers and wholesalers with manufacturers and service suppliers took place during the Trading Partner Business Sessions at the NGA Fall Leadership Meetings.
The Trading Partner Business Sessions connected independent food retailers with trading partners in the consumer packaged goods, distribution, financial operations, and service providers space to discuss mutual business opportunities, strategies, and goals.
“This one-of-a-kind opportunity between key players in the independent supermarket industry is crucial to strengthening business relationships and fostering deeper industry collaboration,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA. “We thank our long-time industry partners at First Data and FMS for helping us provide independent supermarket operators with this important networking opportunity.”
NGA’s Board of Directors also voted unanimously to appoint John Ross, president and CEO at IGA Inc., and Larry Pierce, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing at SpartanNash, to fill vacancies on its Board of Directors during the event. Ross was appointed to an ex-officio seat, replacing IGA, Inc. chairman and former president and CEO Mark Batenic. Pierce will fill an unexpired term of Derek Jones, a former SpartanNash executive vice president.
“Both Larry and John have a great deal of experience and are widely recognized as leaders in the food retail industry,” said Larkin. “We’re pleased to welcome them to the Board at such a crucial time for independent grocers as we develop future strategies to advance the independent supermarket industry.”
John Ross was named president and CEO of IGA, Inc., the world’s largest independent supermarket network with nearly 5,000 IGA supermarkets in more than 30 countries worldwide, representing $36 billion per year in sales. Previously, Ross was president of Inmar promotion Network, headed the Emerging Media Lab for global agency holding company Interpublic Group, founded IPG’s Shopper Sciences, and spent 11 years with Home Depot in various marketing roles.
Larry Pierce was named executive vice president of merchandising and marketing for SpartanNash in July 2014, a position he held on an interim basis since August 2013. Previously, Pierce was the vice president of center store merchandising for six years. He joined the company in 2008 after serving in a variety of positions with Coca-Cola Enterprises, including vice president of sales for the supermarket’s mass and convenience channels.
The Fall Leadership Meetings, sponsored by First Data (NYSE: FDC) and FMS Solutions Holding, LLC, were held in conjunction with the NACS Show, one of the 40 largest trade shows in the United States, in Chicago, Ill. between October 17-20.