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Mike Jackson, the former COO of Supervalu, was named yesterday as the new president/CEO of the National Grocers Association (NGA), succeeding Tom Zaucha, the organization’s longtime chief executive.

In addition to a 30-year career at Supervalu, Jackson also has served as the chairman of NGA.

Chris Coborn, president/CEO of Coborn’s Inc. and the current chairman of NGA, said in a prepared statement: “Mike possesses the industry knowledge, professional experience, leadership skills and passion to lead NGA to the next level of excellence in representing and serving the independent retailer and wholesaler ... Mike Jackson has spent the majority of his career working directly with independent operators. He fervently believes in the unique role that we play in serving the consumer and is passionately committed to our future.”

The appointment takes effect on March 1, 2010. Zaucha’s retirement date is June 30, after which he will serve as NGA’s president emeritus.
KC's View:
I like to think of this as the Hank Armour model. Armour was a convenience store retailer before he was tapped to be CEO of the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), and his tenure there has been ambitious, entrepreneurial and effective. (If I were Mike Jackson, Armour is one of the first people I’d have lunch with upon coming to Washington.)

Since the sweeping changes of leadership at Supervalu that began with the naming of former Walmart executive Craig Herkert as CEO, there is a concern among at least some of the independents served by the company that Supervalu is less focused on independent grocers - and a lot of that has to do with the departure of people like Jackson.

They’ll now have this passionate advocate working for them at NGA, as Jackson makes the move to DC. Together with leaders such as Armour and Leslie Sarasin, the new CEO at FMI, it will be interesting to see how they redefine the roles and activities of trade associations.