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Flashback to my Grocery Manufacturers Association Days

My unexpected incursion back into grocery distribution policy has had me reflecting on my time as Executive Director of the then Grocery Manufacturers Association 1981-84. See this opinion piece published yesterday in "Supermarket News".

I remember working under 3 different GMA Chairmen during that 4 year period- David Bagley from Eta Foods, Bob Manning from Country Foods/Auckland Milk Corporation, and Bill Templeton from Johnson and Johnson. I didn't say in the article in case my memory played tricks, but I think the Chairman whose futuristic view I quoted was Bill Templeton - a seriously nice and very smart guy who, I was sad to see when I Googled him yesterday, passed away just a few months back.

Other CEOs in the thick of it those days included Bob King from Griffins, John Potter from Nestle, Colin Wise from Cadburys, Ian Brown from Unilever, John McDonald from Reckitt and Coleman, John Mahoney from Hansells, Richard Dodds from NZ Sugar, Aubyn Heard from Heards - the names and faces flooded back.

Its a very different industry now, with a dramatic and entrenched shift in the power bases. The next few months will be fascinating as we watch the Commerce Commission, and then the government, do their thing!

My sole memento of those days is the beer mug above with the GMA logo. It dates back to the 1981 (?) GMA conference in Rotorua. If anyone else who was there can send me a photo of an identical one I will meet them and fill it up for an evening with them to swap reminiscences.


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