ARLINGTON, Va. — Thomas K. Zaucha, president and chief executive officer of the National Grocers Association here since its formation in 1982, told SN Wednesday he plans to retire sometime next summer.
Zaucha, 65, said he's decided to step down, “because there are things I'd like to do at my own pace, such as traveling with my wife Bernadette.”
Reports of Zaucha's retirement plans had surfaced during the NGA convention earlier this year, though association officials declined comment at that time.
Zaucha said a search committee will be formed to seek a successor under the leadership of Michael Jackson, president and chief operating officer of Supervalu, Minneapolis, and chairman of NGA's executive committee. The search is likely to look at people both from within the association and from outside, Zaucha told SN.
Zaucha has been part of the Washington, D.C., scene since 1967, when he became the debate coach at George Washington University. He joined the industry in 1969 as assistant to the director of government and industry relations for the National Canners Association, then became director of public affairs for the National Association of Food Chains.
He said he was scheduled to become head of public affairs for Food Marketing Institute when he accepted an invitation instead to work for Grant Gentry and Jonathan Scott as director of government relations for A&P, "which gave me a chance to learn more about retail operations."
He returned to Washington in the 1970's as president of the Cooperative Food Distributors Association and was instrumental in merging that group with the National American Retail Grocers of the U.S. to form NGA in 1982.
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