PMA maps out leadership transition -

PMA maps out leadership transition

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PMA maps out leadership transition

Produce Marketing Association CEO Bryan Silbermann will retire in just over a year from now, with president Cathy Burns to soon take over day-to-day operations.

Cathy Burns and Bryan Silbermann

Cathy Burns and Bryan Silbermann

Yesterday, Silbermann told he would not be looking for a new job after his retirement on Jan. 31, 2017, but may consider board roles if they only involve a few meetings per year.

The industry veteran emphasized his life post-PMA would be spent engaged in personal pursuits like music, travel and photography.

In the interim, both executives will work in close partnership before Burns assumes the CEO role on Jan. 1, 2017.

"During the course of 2016, I will focus my attention on specific areas that Cathy and I have identified to best use my experience and interests in ways to help PMA and its members continue to grow," Silbermann said in a note to PMA members.

"I never imagined when I joined PMA in 1983 that I would be looking back 33 years later at a career that has given me so much satisfaction and room to grow.

"What I thought would be a three-year gig ran more than ten times as long! That’s a tribute both to the welcoming nature of the people who make up this great industry, and to the staff family which makes up this world-class association."

Silbermann told he had learned a great deal from Burns and was confident the association would be in good hands.

"What I've learned in two years working with Cathy is that in areas of board governance and collaboration there were parts I thought I was good at but really wasn't. Cathy's contribution has been very rewarding for me and I think the organization is much stronger for it," he said.

After working with retailer Delhaize, Burns congratulated Silbermann and the PMA board for how they've undertaken the transition.

"To go from running a single operation to representing an industry that covers the full supply chain there are aspects of leadership that are definitely transferable, but for me the biggest learning is that everything takes a bit longer than you would like it to because you're bringing together volunteer leaders who have demanding jobs," she said.

"The foresight that Bryan and the board had with the transition plan in place was the biggest gift they’ve given me. It takes a lot of humility for someone running an organization since 1996 to do that."

Silbermann's 2016 focus

  • Representing the PMA at the association’s worldwide events
  • Meeting with members one-on-one to help them get the most value from their membership
  • Working with Center for Produce Safety Executive Director Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli to firmly establish its new governance processes and complete fundraising for the Campaign for Produce Safety
  • Working on collaborative initiatives with United Fresh Produce Association and others
  • Updating a history of PMA to help capture the institutional knowledge of long-time staff and volunteer leaders

Burns' 2016 focus

  • Leading the organization’s performance against benchmarks outlined in PMA’s strategic plan 2.0
  • Serving as the primary contact between the Board of Directors and staff
  • Leading PMA’s long-term growth and staff development to ensure the association continues to provide year-round, personalized value to members and industry


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