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Michael J. Eardley, director of deli, cheese and prepared foods for Texas-based HEB, will take over as president and CEO of the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association effective Aug. 25, the Madison, Wis.-based trade group announced late Tuesday.
Eardley succeeds Carol Christison, who died this past March after leading the association for 31 years. He has been with HEB for the past 13 years in various roles with increasing responsibility, and was appointed to his current post in 2009.
Highly Respected and Passionate
“I’ve known Michael Eardley for a number of years and he has the background and qualifications to take the IDDBA to even greater heights," said Ed Meyer, VP of meat and seafood at St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets, and a member of the IDDBA search committee. "He’s highly respected in the industry, passionate about the association, and has the ability and experience to lead the strategic planning process.”
Eardley’s career in grocery started while he was still in grade school, working in his family's supermarket. He then spent 29 years working for D&W Food Centers in Grand Rapids, Mich. Eardley was director of foodservice when D&W opened its first restaurant and its central kitchen. He later became VP of fresh foods, heading up the meat, produce, deli, bakery, seafood, floral and chef departments, as well as leadership responsibilities for the central kitchen, meat plant, floral design and distribution facility, and food safety departments.
In 2001, HEB hired Eardley to join its team in San Antonio as business development manager for deli, meat and cheese, followed by a similar role for foodservice. In his current role, Eardley is responsible for deli procurement and operations and works with multiple teams to deliver a great deli customer experience.
"I’m looking forward to working with the talented and hard-working IDDBA staff and board and welcome the opportunity to develop and meet new short- and long-term goals that keep the association relevant and a vital resource for the industry," Eardley said. "I’ve been active in the association for a number of years; it’s a great association in a great industry and I anticipate getting up to speed quickly.”
Search committee member Voni Woods, the senior director of deli, bakery and specialty cheese at Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, explained that the committee, comprising past IDDBA chairmen and current members of its executive committee, "concluded that Mike was the most qualified candidate with outstanding leadership, communication, strategic planning and team-building skills. Mike will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the position, as well as a disciplined and organized problem-solving approach.”
A past chairman of the IDDBA board, Eardley was recognized as a Chairman’s Award winner for his outstanding contributions to the industry and to the association.
Global executive search firm Kincannon & Reed conducted the nationwide search and assisted the IDDBA in its recruitment efforts.
Established in 1964, IDDBA is a nonprofit membership organization serving the dairy, deli, bakery, cheese and supermarket foodservice industries. Member companies enjoy many benefits and services including the annual seminar and expo, leading-edge research, training programs, management tools, and an annual trends report.