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Bailey to retire from Grocery Manufacturers Association

CEO leaving group after the departures of several high-profile members

Feb. 12, 2018
By Walt Williams
Pam Bailey will retire as CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association later this year—an announcement coming after the departure of several high-profile members in recent months.

Bailey, 69, has led the $37 million-revenue GMA for nearly 10 years. In a statement Monday, the association credited her leadership in helping the industry modernize the nation’s food laws and regulations. The CEO was also cited for leading the group through a time of industry transition. 

“As GMA’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,” Bailey said in a statement.

Bailey has had a long career in associations. Before joining GMA, she was CEO of Healthcare Leadership Council, the Advanced Medical Technology Association and the Personal Care Products Council.

Her tenure at GMA witnessed several policy victories but the association has seen at least eight high-profile members part ways with the group in recent months, including Kraft Heinz, Nestlé and Campbell Soup. The departures were driven in large part by disagreements about how the industry should respond to changing consumer demands in nutrition and food labeling. The group currently has 250 members, according to its website.

GMA also was fined $18 million by a Washington state court in 2016 for allegedly failing to disclose donors during a campaign to defeat a ballot issue to mandate labels for foods with genetically modified ingredients. The association is appealing the decision.

Bailey made more than $1.8 million in compensation in 2016, according to tax records. In addition to Bailey’s departure, GMA is moving its offices from Washington, D.C., to Arlington, Va., later this year.

Bailey will remain with GMA until a successor is found. Executive recruiter Leslie Hortum of Spencer Stuart is assisting in the search.