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David Ettinger, president and ceo of Ganong Bros. Ltd., is saying “so long” to Ganong’s.

Ettinger announced last week he will take over Nova Scotia’s Scotsburn Dairy at the end of July. Chairman and former president David Ganong will once again lead the St. Stephen, New Brunswick-based chocolatier until its judiciary board decides how to fill the position.

Ettinger cited returning to his previous experience and being closer to his family as reasons for his departure, Ganong says.

“Most of his (Ettinger’s) family is in Nova Scotia, both his wife’s and his own family, and that’s more home to his daughters who are now going to university,” Ganong says. “So, I think that was a bit of a driving force: to get back home. And, an opportunity came up that he thought fit with his background. He has spent far more time in the dairy business than he has in the chocolate business, so it was very compatible to background and experience, and he thought he would take advantage of it.”

Now, Ganong Bros. Ltd., Canada’s oldest candy company — known for producing fine chocolates and fruits snacks —  has to determine whether it will pick from a handful of internal candidates or conduct another external search. Ganong says the process will begin once the board convenes for a regularly scheduled meeting on July 18.

“The ultimate decision as to what the next director will look like will be with the board,” he says. “I would suspect if we should do another outside recruitment, then I’ve got the job for at least six or seven months because it takes time to find folks with the right background through the interview process. It’s quite possible that I would stay on longer and continue to mentor. We have several very good internal candidates that just need a bit of time to broaden their backgrounds.”

Ganong says two, possibly three internal candidates from the company’s manufacturing, supply chain and contract packing divisions show potential and interest. Additionally, two of the candidates are family members.

Ettinger became the company’s first unrelated president in 2008, and while he would like to see a relative return to the helm, Ganong says the most important issue is selecting a capable candidate.

“We’ve been in the business for 135 years, and the president and ceo has been a family member but for four of them, so it’s a nice thing to (choose a family member),” he says. “I think fundamentally, we need to choose the person to take on the reins of the company who is going to lead to the success of the business itself. If that happens to be a family member, terrific. If it isn’t a family member, then that’s what we should do.”

Whoever it may be, Ganong says the candidate must pursue a strong vision for the company while he or she works efficiently with the management team and all other parts of the business.

“It’s a multi-tasked job for somebody with a breadth of vision,” he says.

Though Ganong decided to relinquish his duties as president and ceo in 2008 after 30 years of service, he says getting back into the swing of things has been easy.

“Because of my previous experience, it is becoming a very smooth transition,” Ganong says. “Here at Ganong’s we are looking at business as usual. Doug left a very strong senior management team within the business itself, and that team is providing enormous support to me.”