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The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) said yesterday that its managing director, Jean-Marc Saubade, is leaving the organization, effective March 12.

While CGF officially said that Saubade's departure was amicable, "in keeping with the Forum’s overall planning and in light of Jean-Marc’s desire to pursue other interests," sources within the CGF membership tell MNB that he was, in fact, fired "in disgrace" because of what was seen as incompetence in running the organization, including running up costs on things like first class airfares.

CGF said that it will "initiate a search for a new Managing Director and has appointed a small interim taskforce from its membership to provide oversight of the Forum’s business during the transition period."

Saubade was the third managing director since 2004 to run the organization, which used to be called CIES.
KC's View:
I imagine that there are champagne corks popping at CGF's headquarters, where there was little affection for the departing managing director, who apparently broke the camel's back when it was seen by Japanese members that he was not paying sufficient attention to the upcoming summit in Tokyo.

I'm told that Saubade, who was being paid the equivalent of in the neighborhood of a million dollars a year, and who may be getting a big severance payout, earned the enmity of many by not paying attention to most of his members (save for a few big manufacturers, such as Coke, Nielsen and Unilever) and not providing any leadership within the organization.

And I can tell you from personal experience that he had no interest in press coverage of CGF's annual summit; I was essentially dis-invited last year after having covered the event for more than 15 years. (I was practically the only US writer who actually paid consistent attention to CIES and then CGF, because I thought they did an interesting job of intellectually challenging their membership with thought-provoking programs.) Does this mean I have a bone to pick with Saubade? Sure. I'll cop to that, in the interest of transparency.

But mostly, I'm just glad that the good folks who work at CGF are rid of a leader who did little leading. I hope that the next managing director is an improvement.