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    GMA's Molpus to Step Down at Year's End

    WASHINGTON -- C. Manly Molpus, president and c.e.o. of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) since 1990, yesterday formally announced his intention to leave the position at the end of this year.

    WASHINGTON -- C. Manly Molpus, president and c.e.o. of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) since 1990, yesterday formally announced his intention to leave the position at the end of this year.

    "After 16 years as c.e.o. of this remarkable organization, I have accomplished my goals, and with the development of a new strategic plan, it will be an appropriate time for me to leave," Molpus said in a statement.

    Molpus first informed the GMA board of his decision to leave last November, the trade group said. That was the same month that GMA and the Food Products Association jointly announced they are exploring whether a merger would best serve their purposes. The groups said at that time that they plan to make a final decision on a course of action early in 2006.

    Past GMA chairman Steve Sanger, chairman and c.e.o. of General Mills, will chair the search committee for a successor. The firm of Spencer Stuart will assist in the search. GMA spokeswoman Stephanie Childs told Progressive Grocer she could not comment on the details of the search for a successor.

    The group's former No. 2 executive, e.v.p. Mark Baum, abruptly left the organization late last year to join consulting firm DiamondCluster International. The remaining highest-level executives at GMA are Mary Sophos, s.v.p. of government affairs; and Stephen Sibert, group v.p. of industry affairs and membership development.

    In a statement, GMA chairman Richard Lenny, chairman, president and c.e.o. of The Hershey Co., said, "Manly has been a strong voice for our industry in a time of great change. On behalf of the board and the membership, I thank him for his leadership and dedication to GMA. His commitment to excellence, knowledge of the industry, and political savvy have assured GMA's success and continued leadership for the nation's food and consumer products companies."

    Immediate past GMA chairman James Kilts, former Gillette chairman and c.e.o., noted, "During Manly's tenure at GMA, he showcased his leadership on a myriad of public policy issues, greatly expanding GMA's influence in the state legislative arena and in international trade."

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