Colorado Springs, CO: The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Hall of Achievement Award was presented last night to two former GMA Board of Directors Chairmen: Douglas R. Conant, former Campbell Soup Company president and CEO and Richard G. Wolford, former chairman, president and CEO of Del Monte Foods, before more than 800 industry leaders at the annual GMA Executive Conference. The Hall of Achievement Award represents the highest honor given by the more than 100 year-old association.
"Although each are unique in their contributions to the consumer packaged goods industry, both of our 2011 Hall of Achievement Award winners have exemplified unparalleled leadership, steadfast commitment to industry excellence, and outstanding records of personal achievement throughout their careers," says Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of GMA. "Rick Wolford and Doug Conant are both remarkable visionaries and community leaders who have had significant impact on the industry over the last several decades. It is with our greatest pleasure and most sincere appreciation that we recognize their many contributions with this award."
Rick Wolford's distinguished career in the food industry began in 1967, when he joined the finance department at Dole Foods. He was eventually named president of Dole Packaged Foods in 1982 and stayed with the company through 1987. Ten years later, working with a private equity partnership, Wolford led the acquisition of Del Monte Foods and joined the company as its CEO. He was elected chairman of the board in May 2000. In March of this year, Wolford announced his retirement from Del Monte after nearly 15 years of exemplary leadership. Wolford also has a record of dedicated service to the industry, having served as chairman of the GMA Board of Directors from January 2010 through February 2011. Prior to his board chairmanship, he served as vice chairman of the board and as chairman of the Industry Affairs Council for five years. He was also a member of the board of the Consumer Goods Forum.
Doug Conant became just the 11th leader of Campbell Soup Company in its 140-year history when he was named president and CEO in January 2001. His 25 years of food industry experience at General Mills, Kraft and Nabisco helped him lead Campbell out of a decline in market value and significantly enhance the company's financial profile. Under his leadership, the company also earned the 2010 Catalyst Award for helping women develop and advance their careers at Campbell. In September 2010, Conant announced his plans to step down from the helm of Campbell in July of this year. His long-standing commitment to the CPG industry is evidenced by his service to the GMA Board of Directors as an active member since 2001 and as chairman from January 2008 through January 2010. Conant also chaired GMA's Government Affairs Council, is a past chairman of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and was a member of the Consumer Goods Forum.
"I join their colleagues on the GMA board in thanking Rick and Doug for their leadership as members of the GMA board. Their passion for GMA and commitment to our industry is unsurpassed, and the association has benefited greatly from their sage advice and counsel," notes Bailey.