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FMI names new SVP industry relations and chief collaboration officer

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Food Marketing Institute on Wednesday named Mark Baum SVP industry relations and chief collaboration officer. In this newly designed function, Baum will engage retailer, supplier, manufacturer and service provider CEO’s to help improve industry collaboration at all points of the food retail chain. 

“Each link in the food chain acknowledges the need for more effective collaboration among all industry participants to minimize replication of efforts, maximize efficiencies and provide American consumers with desired products in a more cost-effective and efficient manner,” stated FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin. “Mark’s intricate knowledge and working relationships in every aspect of the food industry uniquely qualify him to help industry leaders recognize areas of overlap, common interest and potential for improved efforts to create a more efficient supply chain and improved consumer shopping experience," she said. "Couple all that with his winsome ability to strategically develop practical plans, and the addition of Mark to FMI’s leadership team magnifies our ability to help the industry make the crucial move from recognition of challenges to implementation of solutions.”

Baum’s career in the food, beverage and CPG industry spans more than 25 years. He is recognized as a talent in the management of strategy, sales, marketing and merchandising activities in the food, beverage, consumer products and retail industries. Baum served as the president and CEO of the Association of Sales and Marketing Companies and, after leading the merger between ASMC and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, he served as EVP of GMA. Later, he was a partner and managing director of the CPG/Retail Practice at Diamond Management & Technology Consultants. Most recently, Baum was the managing partner of MARCAT Group, a leading consulting advisory firm specializing in business, market and customer development.

Leading retailer and supplier Total Store Collaboration is a key component of FMI’s new strategic plan.  A first step of this component’s implementation will be to establish a broad-based retailer and supplier forum that will create tighter industry connections to unify efforts and outcomes on topics of common interest, the association stated. This will entail engaging a wide variety of retail food partners — food and beverage, fresh products, private brands, general merchandise and health and beauty care to name a few — with the goal of focusing FMI’s energies on delivering specific, significant and tangible results to address priority issues, the association added.

Baum begins his new FMI position on July 31.


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BV Investment Partners becomes majority shareholder of ECRM; Greg Farrar named ECRM CEO

BY Michael Johnsen

SOLON, Ohio — Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing on Tuesday announced that BV Investment Partners has become ECRM’s majority shareholder, effective immediately. Greg Farrar was named ECRM’s CEO.

With the transition, Mitch Bowlus will be stepping down as president. “I’m excited to partner with BV to help bring the company that my father and I built together to its next stage of growth,” he said. “I will continue to be a significant shareholder and will be involved in the future strategic growth of the business but will be transitioning out of the day to day operations. With this, I am pleased to announce Greg Farrar as our new CEO.”

“This is about growing and serving our customers better. It’s about taking the opportunity to enter into markets [ECRM doesn’t] currently serve yet,” stated Farrar.

Farrar was formerly Trade Only Design Library, a leading online product research and specification library. Under Farrar’s leadership, TODL’s professional membership grew by 50% while its manufacturer library increased by more than 60%.

Prior to his time at TODL, from 2007 until 2010, Farrar served as president of Nielsen Business Media, a 760 employee, $310 million business-to-business media company. Prior to that, in 2006 Greg was appointed COO of Nielsen Business Media where he spearheaded the market-focused reorganization of the company’s operations.

Founded in 1994 by the late Charlie Bowlus and his son Mitch Bowlus, ECRM is known for strategic events and promotional tracking and analysis in the consumer packaged goods industry. 


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D.BIERNBAUM says:
Jul-10-2013 11:25 am

I have been heavily involved with ECRM since Charlie's first event. No event management company, nor any trade organization, has influenced the success of small, niche, and entrepreneurial brands more than ECRM. Through the ECRM events I believe I have helped to put more than 100 brands on the market for my client-companies. I am very hopeful that the new ownership will continue to the premise and functionality of the ECRM, while also making some improvements, and I would like to offer my assistance in any way possible. www.consultdavidb.com and [email protected]

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Shaw’s, Star Market to shutter six stores

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Shaw’s and Star Market have confirmed that six underperforming stores will close in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

“We strive to ensure the success of all our stores, however, it is occasionally necessary for us to close those that are not meeting company goals. As a company and as responsible business owners, we need to position ourselves to be profitable. The stores identified have not been profitable for quite some time, and despite the best efforts of the company and our associates, we have not been able to reposition them to better compete in the marketplace and don’t anticipate being able to change this trend,” the company stated.

Four of the stores to close are located in Massachusetts and two are located in Rhode Island. The stores will be closed no later than Aug. 3.

“While the decision to close a store is always difficult—given the impact on associates and customers — it was made only after careful evaluation and was guided by what is best for the company’s ongoing success and future growth,” the company added.

In March, AB Acquisition, which is an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, acquired from Supervalu the Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market stores and related Osco and Sav-on in-store pharmacy operations — a move that reunited all Albertsons stores under one operator.


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