- Greg Ferrara will become the next president and CEO of the National Grocers Association (NGA), according to an announcement from the organization. He will assume the role September 1.
- Ferrara is currently NGA’s executive vice president and oversees advocacy and lobbying, public relations, industry relations and membership. He first joined NGA in 2005 after managing his family’s supermarket in New Orleans, which was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.
- President and CEO Peter Larkin, who announced his retirement last fall, will serve as an advisor through the end of the year.
While NGA’s board of directors conducted an extensive national search to identify its new leader, selecting a candidate from within reflects the organization’s confidence in its current direction. Ferrara’s tenure at NGA ensures he is deeply ingrained in the workings of the association and what it is trying to accomplish for its members.
"I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead an organization and an industry that I care so passionately about," Ferrara said in a statement.
Some of NGA’s chief legislative issues right now, which Larkin shared with Grocery Dive during an interview earlier this year, are costs associated with payments taken in stores and SNAP program operations. NGA issued a statement last month in support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow retailers to keep store-level SNAP data confidential.
As with all grocery retailers, independents face significant headwinds today. According to the 2018 Independent Grocers Financial Survey, same-store sales for independent grocers were down 0.6% compared to the previous year, and sales were down for nearly 51% of companies surveyed. This year’s survey results have not yet been released.
Despite those losses, NGA’s website notes independent grocery makes up 25% of retail grocery industry sales and represents $131 billion in annual sales. Independent grocery operators are essential in offering community-driven, localized food offerings to shoppers in towns and cities across the U.S. and knowing their customers' needs.
Ferrara said in his statement that the future for independent grocery is bright, and Larkin has told Grocery Dive he remains "bullish" on the future of independents.