“I speak for the entire board when I say that we are very eager to welcome Leslie aboard. She is well connected with our industry and brings a wealth of experience to her new post, as well as a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement. I am confident that under her leadership, we will be able to move the association forward at a critical time for our industry,” said Steven C. Smith, board chair, FMI, and president and CEO of K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc.
“I am extremely pleased that the search committee had the opportunity to consider such well-qualified candidates from across the United States. I am grateful for the commitment and complete engagement of the committee in this important process,” said Ronald D. Pearson, Chairman Emeritus, Hy-Vee, Inc. and chair, FMI CEO Search Committee.
Sarasin has been president and chief executive officer of the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) since 1999. She also serves as president of the National Yogurt Association, an association that AFFI manages, and has oversight responsibility for the National Frozen Pizza Institute, Frozen Potato Products Institute, International Frozen Food Association, Texas Mexico Frozen Food Council and Food Processing Environmental Conference. She joined AFFI in 1989.
Previously, she worked as director, government relations, and legal counsel with the National Food Brokers Association and as legal counsel and assistant to the president at Crest International Corporation. Early in her career, she worked for Salomon Brothers Investment Bankers and for Senator Wendell H. Ford.
“I could not be more pleased to have been selected to serve as President and CEO of FMI and very much look forward to working with FMI’s Board, Members and Associate Members, as well as the associates at FMI, to pursue the issues of importance to the food industry and to fulfill the mission of the organization,” said Sarasin. Sarasin holds a JD from the University of San Diego and a BA in economics from Smith College. She is a member of the American Bar Association and is admitted to practice law in California and Washington, DC. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Mexico Frozen Food Council and as chairman of the Food Industry Environmental Council. She also serves on the Boards of Directors of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, the Partnership for Food Safety Education and the National Chamber Foundation. She is a Board member and Past Treasurer of the U.S. Former Members of Congress Auxiliary. Sarasin also is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100.
Previously, Sarasin served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). In 1998, she was awarded ASAE’s Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation and was recertified in 2002 and 2005.
Sarasin resides in McLean, Virginia, with her husband, Former Member of Congress Ronald A. Sarasin, and their son, Douglas.
Food Marketing Institute proudly advocates on behalf of the food retail industry. FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion. Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations, FMI offers resources and provides valuable benefits to more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the United States and around the world. FMI membership covers the spectrum of diverse venues where food is sold, including single owner grocery stores, large multi-store supermarket chains and mixed retail stores. For more information, visit www.fmi.org and for information regarding the FMI foundation, visit www.fmifoundation.org.
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