Politics could be at play in merger talks

07/13/2012 08:56:00 AM
The Packer Editorial Board

It’s a common complaint from the produce industry, and American citizens in general: Leaders in Washington, D.C., are more concerned about their political strategies and alliances than in working to improve the country.

Immigration reform? Health care? Creating jobs? All victims to politics.

But is that also happening in the produce industry as the Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association boards consider a merger?

Many members of both groups have stressed the goal of eliminating overlap and streamlining from two associations to one.

It’s been more than a month since the last official communication, and both boards have agreed to a media blackout in the meantime.

However, there are rumors that a major sticking point involves who would lead such an organization and what current board members would combine to form a new board.

It would be a shame if the produce industry is held hostage to the same kind of politicking in the merger talks that paralyzes Washington.

We’re not saying that’s necessarily the case, but the continuing lack of progress on the merger combined with the silence from the two groups leads any outsider to speculate as to what the problem may be.

Both CEOs, Bryan Silbermann and Tom Stenzel, have led their organizations since the 1990s and have deservedly earned the respect of industry members.

It’s hard to believe that either would let a merger — if their members desire it — be delayed or denied over a leadership dispute.

Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.



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Don Goodwin    
Minnesota  |  July, 19, 2012 at 12:01 PM

I think both associations should hold a straw poll to see if this decision reflects the will of their members. Let the members decide.

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