retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) announced that Kenneth Bengtsson, the former CEO of ICA AB, the Swedish retail group, and a member of the CGF Board of Directors, has been named Interim Director of the organization, pending the hiring of a permanent Managing Director.

The previous Managing Director, Jean-Marc Saubade, was fired last February in what some members of CGF said was "disgrace" because of what was seen as incompetence in running the organization, including running up costs on things like first class airfares. Since that time, CGF has been searching for a replacement, but to no avail.
KC's View:
There are a lot of good people on the staff of CGF, and it must be tough to be working for an organization that essentially has been leaderless for more than six months. It's too bad. When CGF was called CIES and was run for and by retailers, the organization seemed to have a not just stability, but also a point of view. But since it has evolved into an organization for both retailers and manufacturers - and seems to be dominated by big manufacturers - it seems to have lost its intellectual edge to some degree.

Though, to be fair, I've had some manufacturers and service providers tell me that its annual CEO summit remains a good place to network and sell stuff, whether or not one actually attends the sessions. But that would been anathema to CIES in the old days, when strong sessions and provocative speakers were the draw, not an afterthought.