January 24, 2015 – Miami, Florida – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) on Saturday awarded ConAgra Foods, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Gary Rodkin the William H. Albers Award, recognizing his exemplary business partner relation within the retail food industry. Rodkin accepted the award at the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference in Miami among colleagues and longtime customers.

Rodkin has a celebrated history at the helm of ConAgra Foods, and in his industry role as Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) chairman, which led to the evolution of the FMI-GMA Trading Partner Alliance, a joint-industry working group aimed at streamlining business efficiencies along the food manufacturer and retailer supply chain. He was integral among FMI and GMA leadership to enact new programs and protocols, most notably regarding health and wellness, center store and sustainability initiatives.

“Gary embodies the ideal qualities in a business partner, and he’s ultimately focused on serving the end consumer,” Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and CEO, said. “I’ve been fortunate to work alongside Gary for many years, and he never loses sight how he’s going to work with his retail business partner to deliver on a promise to the shopper.”

Rodkin joined ConAgra Foods in October 2005 and transformed it from a holding company into one unified operating company. Under his leadership, the ConAgra Foods Foundation has continued to lead the fight against child hunger in the U.S., a cause the company has been committed to for more than 20 years.

Prior to joining ConAgra Foods, Rodkin was chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo® Beverages and Foods North America. He joined PepsiCo in 1998 after it acquired Tropicana, where he had served as president since 1995. From 1979 to 1995, he held marketing and general management positions of increasing responsibility at General Mills®, with his last three years at the company as president of the Yoplait® yogurt division.

Working on the GMA board together, and most recently on ConAgra Foods’ board, Rick Lenny, chairman, IRI, and former chairman and CEO, The Hershey Company, recalled in a testimonial video, “Gary’s had an exceptional career across multiple companies and numerous business models. His success can be defined by the three C’s: company-first mindset; consumer driven; and customer focused. Nowhere have these principles been more evident than through his work on behalf of GMA and in collaboration with FMI.”

One of Rodkin’s most recent and notable accomplishments during his service on the FMI and GMA board of directors was his influence in helping the food industry launch Facts Up Front, an nutrition guidance program, in order to help consumers make informed decisions about the foods they eat.

Rodkin’s commitment to business and supply chain initiatives translates to the community and his intense involvement in local hunger programs. Under his leadership, ConAgra made a $4 million commitment to Omaha families, which localizes the company’s overall hunger effort, and he instituted a service program to encourage company employees to give back to their communities. Rodkin’s philanthropy is also evident in his creation of a college and trade school scholarship program specifically for ConAgra’s production employees.

“Quite simply, Gary believes we’re better together,” Lenny later commented, “The prestigious William H. Albers Industry Relations Award is a fitting tribute for all that Gary has accomplished.”

Rodkin graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Rutgers College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. In addition to his tenure on the FMI and GMA boards, he serves on the Board of Overseers for Rutgers College, on the board of Avon® Products and is Chairman of Boys Town®. Rodkin is also a member of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce and a Fellow of Executive Education at Harvard Business School. 

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Testimonial video from Rick Lenny, chairman, IRI, and former chairman and CEO, The Hershey Company, available here.