National Confectioners Association president Larry Graham has announced his plan to retire following the 2014 Sweets & Snacks Expo after 22 years as head of the association. Graham, who has overseen significant changes in the association’s structure, intends to be actively involved in the recruitment and transition process to ensure an organized change of leadership.

“We want the transition to be orderly, well thought-out and positive for the NCA membership and the staff,” notes NCA Chairman Mitchell Goetze. “This is an important time in NCA history and it must be done carefully. Larry has done a great job and transformed NCA over the last 20 years and we want to keep that momentum going.”

NCA is well-positioned for a smooth succession as current Chairman Mitchell Goetze and Vice Chairman Bob Simpson will create a transition process involving the Association’s member segments and perhaps some outside experts. The Executive Board will review NCA’s strategic plan and confirm that it addresses not only current industry issues, but also those that will affect it in the future. This information will determine the role of leadership going forward.

Once this step is complete, a search committee will be established that will likely work with recruiting firms to find candidates whose qualifications fit NCA’s needs.

Graham, Goetze and Simpson believe that the new NCA president will need broad experience, a solid knowledge of how Washington, D.C. works, excellent communication skills and a diplomatic attitude in order to succeed.

“While Larry will be available for consulting when the new president assumes the position,” Simpson notes, “we have a very strong staff of seasoned veterans as well as up-and-coming young professionals who will help to assure a smooth transition.”

“I’m looking forward to working with our members to find the best possible successor, someone who will enjoy representing this industry of small and large candy companies located in every corner of the U.S. and around the world who make a product that people love," said Graham. “In the meantime, I have two more years at the helm of NCA and lots of work to do.”

The National Confectioners Association fosters industry growth by advancing the interests of the confectionery industry and its customers. Serving as the voice of the industry, the Association advocates for the needs of the industry before government bodies, helps the industry understand and implement food safety and other regulations, provides information to help members strengthen business in today's competitive environment and creates relationships between all sectors of the industry including manufacturers, brokers, trade customers, suppliers to the industry and our consumers.