Freeman to Leave Consumer Brands Association

June 23, 2022
Geoff Freeman, the man credited with reshaping and broadening the focus of the Consumer Brands Association, is taking another job.

Geoff Freeman, the man credited with reshaping and broadening the focus of the Consumer Brands Association, is taking another job.

Freeman has been named president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group for travel and tourism, starting in September. It’s a job he’s had before; he worked for the Travel Association for seven years, rising to CEO before he left in 2013. He went from that job to head the American Gaming Association, working there until he came to the Consumer Brands Association in 2018.

Freeman presided over the CBA as it was transitioning away from its original name, the Grocery Manufacturers Association. At the time, the organization was roiled in deep disagreements over some of its advocacy stances, especially its constant fights against limits on unhealthy nutrients like fat and sodium. This caused it to be perceived as anti-consumer, and some big industry players left the group, including Nestlé, Kraft Heinz, Mars, Unilever and Campbell Soup.

Freeman claims to have increased the CBA’s membership by 30%, getting Campbell back and snagging such big names as Hostess Brands, Schwan’s and Utz. He guided the organization into a more proactive role regarding public policy, concentrating on issues including plastics recycling, cannabis regulation and help for the supply chain. In recent months, Freeman and the CBA have been vociferously calling for government support for businesses in the food supply chain.

“Under Geoff’s leadership, Consumer Brands advanced a turnaround strategy that has transformed the organization and established it as a powerhouse association in Washington, D.C.,” Jeff Harmening, CEO of General Mills and CBA chairman, said in a statement. “The organization enjoys the support of the world’s leading CPG companies, and its revenues have increased nearly 50 percent over the past three years.”

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