The American Bakers Association (ABA) has announced Eric Dell, JD, MBA, as the trade organization’s new president and CEO. Dell will lead the trade group’s sweeping mission of promoting and growing the baking industry in partnership with its 300+ members.

Dell joins ABA from the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) as the organization’s executive vice president. During his ten-year tenure, he built a best-in-class advocacy program, forged new industry partnerships, revitalized the industry trade show, and invigorated high-performing teams.

A veteran of Capitol Hill, serving two stints as chief of staff and counsel to Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC), Dell also was a practicing attorney and law clerk to South Carolina Circuit Judge Marc Westbrook. Dell is a South Carolina native with a degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina. He earned his Master of Business Administration from the Johns Hopkins University – Carey School of Business. Dell and his wife Torry have two sons, aged six and nine.

“Following an exhaustive review of 67 qualified candidates, ABA’s Search committee was unanimous in our selection of Eric,” said Cordia Harrington, ABA’s board chair, and founder and CEO of Crown Bakeries. “He is an energetic, dynamic, and politically savvy leader who exudes passion for his work and his family. He is the ideal successor to carry on the strong reputation and foundation built by Robb MacKie and the ABA team.”

“After a thorough vetting process, I am pleased that our panel secured a new CEO that brings such strong association experience, as well as great connections in our nation's capital,” said Bill Quigg, ABA’s first vice-chair, and president and CEO of Richmond Baking. “I am confident this new leadership will prove to be an exceptional strategic executive taking ABA successfully into the future.”

“Eric’s depth of experience and leadership skills are second to none,” said Brad Alexander, COO of Flowers Foods and ABA’s immediate past chair. “He has a clear and passionate vision that will guide ABA’s efforts as they address the baking industry’s future challenges and provide valuable resources to meet our members’ changing business needs.”

“The Executive Committee has selected an outstanding leader to take ABA into the future,” said Robb MacKie, ABA’s current president and CEO. “Both Eric and NAMA have been incredibly strong and well-respected collaborators with ABA and the Washington food community. In addition to his keen policy acumen in both federal and state governments, Eric’s strategic business ingenuity expanded his industry’s opportunities and grew their trade show’s impact. ABA’s professional team and its leadership will blaze a bright path for the baking industry’s future with him at the helm. I know the ABA members will enjoy welcoming Eric and his family into the baking community just as they did me. I anticipate a smooth and seamless transition over the next couple of months.”

“I’m delighted to join this fantastic industry as the president and CEO of its leading trade association,” said Eric. “Together, we will work to show America and the world what many already know: baking is cool. I am excited to lead ABA into the future with a pointed focus on crafting a culture-driven organization that I know will excel at all levels of programming for the membership. Working with the Board of Directors and the broader membership, we will elevate ABA’s value proposition.”

Dell will officially start as ABA’s president and CEO on January 1, 2023.