Green Burns’ experience to boost PMA

08/08/2013 02:07:00 PM
Tom Karst

Bringing real-world retail experience to the executive staff of Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association, Cathy Green Burns will assume the duties of association president on Dec. 1.

Bryan Silbermann, who’s had that role since 1996, will remain as chief executive officer.

With 30 years in the grocery industry — 20 years at Hannaford and 10 years at Food Lion — Green Burns said the opportunity with PMA meshed with her goals and principles.

“I’m honored and thrilled to be able to join an organization that leads an industry that I care passionately about,” she said Aug. 8. “The opportunity to have a small part in really promoting and driving healthy eating across the world. What’s not to love about that?”

Green Burns worked for Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford Bros. in several management positions before becoming vice president of fresh merchandising.

In 2002 she joined Food Lion, a sister company of Hannaford Bros., as senior vice president of fresh merchandising, distribution and quality assurance. Green Burns then served as senior vice president of northern retail operations, and in 2005 Food Lion named her its chief operating officer. After three years as president, Green Burns left Food Lion in December in part of a corporate restructuring.

Green Burns and her husband and two school-aged children are in the process of relocating to Delaware, she said.

While Green Burns said it is a shift to go from corporate America into the association world, she said both places share a common purpose.

“It is still about creating value. Whether you are doing it for shareholders, customers or members, there is still a drive to create value.”

Calling Silbermann a great teacher and visionary, Green Burns said she looks forward to learning from Silbermann about the produce industry and the global reach of the association.

“I am really excited to learning as much as I can from him and bringing PMA’s strategic plan to life.”

Silbermann, who said he first met Green Burns when she was at Hannaford about 12 years ago, said she brings leadership qualities that the association has not had in the past.

“The personal leadership capability that Cathy Green Burns has will be a huge addition to the staff and to the members as a whole,” he said.

Her experience in running a major retail organization and insight into consumer demand also is a major plus, he said.

Silbermann said her appointment coincides with the October release of the second version of PMA’s strategic plan, first released in 2008. Given the global and complex nature of PMA, he said that having more senior management with industry experience was needed.


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