The boards of directors of the American Bakers Association (ABA) and the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers’ Association (B&CMA) have announced approval of resolutions to explore merging the two organizations.
“Both ABA and B&CMA are stable, financially healthy organizations serving their constituents with a wide range of successful programs and services,” says ABA chairman Rich Scalise, Hearthside Food Solutions. “This initiative seeks to build on each organization’s strengths to achieve a stronger future together. We are very excited about possibly building upon B&CMA’s outstanding education platforms to fill gaps in the broader baking industry’s leadership and technical training regimens.”
“By working together and capitalizing on the strengths of both ABA and B&CMA, we will provide higher levels of service and value for our members and organizations,” says B&CMA past chairman Bill Quigg, Richmond Baking Co. “ABA’s extraordinary advocacy program, regular trends research and partnership with the Grain Foods Foundation on the category promotion efforts of the Grain Foods Foundation would all add tremendous value to B&CMA members.”
The year‐long process will allow for a thorough examination of potential synergies and benefits of a merged organization. A transition committee will conduct appropriate due diligence, address governance and structural issues and, most importantly, seek full and complete feedback from the respective organizations. The Transition Steering Committee will consist of the following members:
- ABA—Rich Scalise, Hearthside Foods; Erin Sharp, Kroger Co.; and Robb MacKie, ABA president and CEO
- B&CMA—Bill Quigg, Richmond Baking Co.; Todd Wallin, Ellison Baking Co.; and Dave Van Laar, B&CMA president
“What began as general conversations over potential partnerships evolved into wide‐ranging discussions over how best to serve our respective members,” says MacKie. “Dave and the B&CMA leadership deserve tremendous credit for their willingness to explore a whole range of options to better serve the broader baking industry.”
“In searching for potential partners to benefit B&CMA members, it was clear the place to be was with ABA,” says Van Laar. “Rich and Robb have such high integrity we quickly developed a strong trust with their commitment to building a stronger organization.”
“In addition to the enhanced programs the new organization will be able to offer, we are very excited about the capabilities the combined professional staffs will bring to bear for the industry,” MacKie and Van Laar agree.
The merger plan under consideration would incorporate the programs of the B&CMA within the structure of ABA, while maintaining the highly regarded B&CMA brand for its Technical Conference and online learning programs. Additionally, current B&CMA leadership would join the ABA leadership structure at all levels.
According to a timeline reviewed by both the ABA and B&CMA boards, there will be several webinars and survey opportunities to gain input from each group’s respective memberships. Additionally, consideration of a final merger recommendation is tentatively scheduled for March 2017, with a closing date of June 30, 2017.
“It is critically important that the members share their feedback on the potential merged organization,” say Scalise and Quigg. “Success will hinge on blending the cultures of ABA and B&CMA and their professional teams. This will be a multiyear effort.”