WASHINGTON — Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (G.M.A.), said she will retire from the organization after nearly a decade. She will remain with the group until a replacement is found.
The announcement of Ms. Bailey's departure comes at a time when the G.M.A. has seen a growing number of member companies exiting from the trade group. Among them are Cargill, Nestle, Tyson Foods, Campbell Soup Co., Dean Foods, Unilever and Mars, Inc. The Kraft Heinz Co. and DowDuPont are the latest to confirm they would not renew their memberships.
During Ms. Bailey's tenure, the G.M.A. led the industry in supporting the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, reforms to the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) review process and passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act. Under her leadership, the organization was a loud voice in support of a federal G.M.O. labeling law.
Prior to joining the G.M.A., Ms. Bailey led three national trade associations, including the Healthcare Leadership Council, the Advanced Medical Technology Association and the Personal Care Products Council. Earlier in her career, she served in the White House for three presidents.
“We want to thank Pam for all her hard work during her nearly 10 years at G.M.A.,” said Chris Policinski, chairman of the G.M.A. board of directors. “Her leadership was valuable during an evolving time in the industry. As the industry evolution continues, G.M.A.’s board is committed to building an association that is the leading voice for a major sector of our nation’s economy and that works collaboratively with industry and consumer partners to address our challenges ahead.”
The Campbell Soup Co. was the first major company to announce its departure from the G.M.A. last July, stating the move was not driven by financials but by “our purpose and our principles.” Other companies departing the G.M.A. said they have increasingly found themselves at odds with the association on several issues, including how to approach G.M.O. labeling, the mandatory labeling of “added sugars” and voluntary sodium reduction. More broadly, there were differences on how best to provide the transparency in food product ingredients and nutrition increasingly demanded by consumers.
Amid the member exodus, the G.M.A. has vowed to reinvent itself to adapt to the changing times. Ms. Bailey said a new leader will help steer the group into a new era.
“G.M.A.’s members are dedicated to improving the quality of life for their consumers and they are fortunate to be led by a dedicated board of industry leaders, committed to ensuring the association can help its members continuously improve the health, safety, affordability and sustainability of their products,” Ms. Bailey said. “As G.M.A.’s board continues to engage in the reinvention process to build the association of the future to meet the consumer needs of the future, it is best that they do so in concert with their leader of the future. I look forward to continuing to work with the G.M.A. board as they engage in that process to identify that leader.”