F.M.I. recognizes Dillon and Rodkin

by Eric Schroeder
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MIAMI — David B. Dillon, Gary Rodkin and Thomas S. Haggai were among the individuals recognized by the Food Marketing Institute on Jan. 24 for their service to the food and beverage industry. The awards were presented as part of the F.M.I. Midwinter Executive Conference held in Miami.

Mr. Dillon was presented F.M.I.’s highest honor, the Sidney R. Rabb Award, for his excellence in serving the consumer, the community and the industry. Mr. Dillon, who is former chairman of the board of directors for The Kroger Co., was described as being “genuine,” and, according to the F.M.I., his earnestness translates across his career to an understanding of the importance of diversity in America and in the American workplace.

“Dave is a respected leader in the larger food retail industry and consistently highlights the role of constructive feedback, believing that giving it establishes you as an informed leader and receiving it helps you become a better leader,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer of the F.M.I. “A person of great vison and charisma, his passion for nurturing future leaders for the food retail industry was evident in his spearheading F.M.I.’s 2013 Future Connect Conference, an event dedicated to developing those identified with leadership potential.”

Mr. Dillon has spent 37 years in the food retail industry. He was Kroger’s chairman from 2004-14 and c.e.o. from 2003-13. Prior to that, he held a variety of executive positions at Kroger and Dillons Companies, which merged in 1983.

Mr. Rodkin, c.e.o. of Omaha-based ConAgra Foods, Inc., received the William H. Albers Award, recognizing his business partner relation within the retail food industry. He was recognized for this role as chairman of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (G.M.A.), where he helped spearhead the evolution of the F.M.I.-G.M.A. Trading Partner Alliance, a joint-industry working group aimed at streamlining business efficiencies along the food manufacturer and retailer supply chain. He was integral among F.M.I. and G.M.A. leadership to enact new programs and protocols, most notably regarding health and wellness, center store and sustainability initiatives.

“Gary embodies the ideal qualities in a business partner, and he’s ultimately focused on serving the end consumer,” Ms. Sarasin said. “I’ve been fortunate to work alongside Gary for many years, and he never loses sight how he’s going to work with his retail business partner to deliver on a promise to the shopper.”

Mr. Rodkin joined ConAgra Foods in October 2005 and transformed it from a holding company into one unified operating company. Prior to joining ConAgra Foods, he was chairman and c.e.o. of PepsiCo Beverages and Foods North America. He joined PepsiCo in 1998 after it acquired Tropicana, where he had served as president since 1995. From 1979 to 1995, he held marketing and general management positions of increasing responsibility at General Mills, Inc., with his last three years at the company as president of the Yoplait yogurt division.

Finally, the F.M.I. recognized Dr. Haggai, chairman of IGA, Inc., Chicago, with the Hoover Award, which recognizes humanitarian service in the food retail industry.

“Dr. Haggai is a true architect of the human spirit,” Ms. Sarasin said. “He motivates, inspires and builds communities in his work with independent operators. Honoring him tonight is honoring a global legacy of achievement within our industry.”

Dr. Haggai is the only non-grocery retailer to sit on the board of IGA. A radio personality, author, minister and business consultant, Dr. Haggai has served on the board of IGA since 1972 and as board chairman since 1976. Dr. Haggai helped to introduce IGA in Japan and Australia in the late 1980s. He identified domestic growth opportunities, especially within cities like Philadelphia and Cincinnati.
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