American Bakers Association announces new president and CEO

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Eric Dell has strong association experience, as well as great connections to Capitol Hill. Pic: ABA
Eric Dell has strong association experience, as well as great connections to Capitol Hill. Pic: ABA

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Eric Dell is taking the reins from Robb MacKie on 1 January 2023, to lead the trade group’s sweeping mission of promoting and growing the baking industry in partnership with its 300+ members.

A South Carolina native, Dell is currently executive VP of the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) and has been singled out following an exhaustive review of 67 qualified candidates.

During his 10-year tenure with NAMA, he built a best-in-class advocacy programme, forged new industry partnerships, revitalised the industry trade show and invigorated high-performing teams.

He is also a veteran of Capitol Hill, having served two stints as chief of staff and counsel to Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC), and as a practicing attorney and law clerk to South Carolina Circuit Judge Marc Westbrook.

He has a degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina, along with a Master of Business Administration from the Johns Hopkins University.

Savvy leader

“ABA’s Search committee was unanimous in our selection of Eric,”​ said Cordia Harrington, ABA’s Board Chair, and founder and CEO of Crown Bakeries.

“He is an energetic, dynamic and politically savvy leader who exudes passion for his work and his family. He is the ideal successor to carry on the strong reputation and foundation built by Robb MacKie and the ABA team.”

Robb MacKie
Robb MacKie

Current president and CEO MacKie concurred, adding that under his direction, the ABA – which has been the voice of the industry since 1847 – will “blaze a bright path for the baking industry’s future.

“Both Eric and NAMA have been incredibly strong and well-respected collaborators with ABA and the Washington food community.

“In addition to his keen policy acumen in both federal and state governments, Eric’s strategic business ingenuity expanded his industry’s opportunities and grew their trade show’s impact.

“I anticipate a smooth and seamless transition over the next couple of months.”

MacKie is stepping down at the end of 2022 to focus on family matters.

“For 27 years, 17 as President and CEO, it has been my deepest privilege and honour to serve the baking industry,”​ said MacKie in June, when the announcement was made.

“I have devoted my full passion and energy to protecting and growing this noble industry that feeds our country and communities.

“Now it is time for me to practice what I preach by putting family first and focus my full attention and passion on helping my family through our challenges. I only ask for the industry's and friends' support, prayers, and respect for my family's privacy.”

Baking is cool

Added Dell, “I am excited to lead ABA into the future with a pointed focus on crafting a culture-driven organisation that I know will excel at all levels of programming for the membership.

“Working with the Board of Directors and the broader membership … we will show America and the world what many already know: baking is cool.”

The American Bakers Association is the only bakery-specific national and state trade association, serving members from global wholesale baking companies and suppliers to baking industry entrepreneurs.

The association works to increase protection from costly government actions, build the talent pool of skilled workers with specialised training programmes, and forge industry alignment by establishing a more receptive environment to grow the baking industry. ABA's membership has grown to represent more than 300 companies with a combined 1,600+ facilities.

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