CFIG's Scott announces departure at annual conference


While the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers marked a milestone with its 50th anniversary at the Grocery Innovations show this week, it’s longtime president and CEO, John Scott, announced he’ll be leaving the organization “late next year” after 21 years at the helm.

In a letter addressed to members, Scott said he and his wife, Michelle, had come to the decision a few months ago “in consideration of our personal direction in life.”

He also wrote: “It is time for a new leader of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.  The future holds a wealth of challenges and opportunities that will require unique, aggressive and strong measures from both your volunteer and professional leadership.”

CFIG's board of directors has formed a search committee to find a new president.

On Tuesday night, after the last prize was handed out CFIG's retailer awards, Scott addressed the audience, saying 50 years is great, but in the 51st year the association needs a new strategic direction, new direction and new commitment.

“I have many things I want to do in life,” said Scott. “As I said at the annual meeting, once you’re on the back nine, you start thinking, realizing you made promises to your family, and to yourself…. But it’s time.”

And then quoting poet Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening," Scott said: “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep…”

Scott will remain president of CFIG until a new president is found. He said he is committed to working with the board and his successor to ensure a smooth transition.

Anthony Longo, president and CEO of Longo's, and recipient of CFIG's Spirit of the Independent award this year, said: "John has been a tremendous leader for CFIG– always advocating for the independent grocer. His candid discussions with all stakeholders were appreciated and respected. Speaking for Longo's we appreciate all he and the organization have done for us to ensure we could compete in this very challenging industry.”

Scott is only the fourth president of CFIG in its 50 year history. He is also the longest serving. The first president, Arnold Rands, held the job for 15 years–six fewer than Scott.

In his speech at CFIG's convention Tuesday night, Scott concluded by saying: “We want to thank you for 21 years. We came here for three and stayed here for 21. We thank you for letting us be a part of your life, and for allowing me to be your representative for so many years, and for your friendship and most of all for letting me be a part of your families all across the country. Tonight, Michelle , and I would like to toast you, the independent grocers of Canada, for giving us the privilege to be your representative. Thank you so much, we’ll be around for the next year, cheers to you.”

To hear his full speech, click here.

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