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Former HEB exec to head International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association

The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) has named former HEB executive Michael J. Eardley as its new president and CEO. Eardley succeeds Carol Christison, who passed away in March, after leading the association for 31 years.

Eardley will join the IDDBA on August 25 from HEB Grocery Company in San Antonio, Texas, where he has worked for the past 13 years in various roles with increasing responsibility, becoming the director of deli, cheese and prepared foods in 2009.

“I’ve known Michael Eardley for a number of years and he has the background and qualifications to take the IDDBA to even greater heights,” Ed Meyer, VP of meat and seafood, at Schnuck Markets, St. Louis, Mo., and search committee member said. “He’s highly respected in the industry, passionate about the Association, and has the ability and experience to lead the strategic planning process.”

Eardley’s career in grocery started while he was still in grade school working in the family supermarket. He then spent 29 years working for D&W Food Centers in Grand Rapids, Mich. Eardley was director of food service when D&W opened its first restaurant and its Central Kitchen. He later became VP of fresh foods, heading up the meat, produce, deli, bakery, seafood, floral and chef departments as well as leadership responsibilities for the Central Kitchen, Meat Plant, Floral Design and Distribution Facility, and Food Safety Departments.

In 2001, HEB Supermarkets hired Eardley to join their team in San Antonio, Texas, as business development manager for deli, meat and cheese followed by a similar role for food service. In his current role, Eardley is responsible for deli procurement and operations and works with multiple teams to deliver a great deli customer experience.

“I’m looking forward to working with the talented and hard-working IDDBA staff and board and welcome the opportunity to develop and meet new short- and long-term goals that keep the association relevant and a vital resource for the industry,” Eardley said. “I’ve been active in the association for a number of years; it’s a great association in a great industry and I anticipate getting up to speed quickly.”
 
“Our search committee was comprised of past IDDBA chairmen and current members of the executive committee. We concluded that Mike was the most qualified candidate with outstanding leadership, communication, strategic planning and team-building skills,” Voni Woods, another search committee member and current senior director of deli, bakery and specialty cheese at Giant Eagle, Harmony, Pa., said. “Mike will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the position, as well as a disciplined and organized problem-solving approach.”

Eardley is not only a past chairman of the board, but also was recognized as a chairman’s award winner for “his outstanding contributions to the industry and to the association.” Global executive search firm Kincannon & Reed conducted the nationwide search and assisted the IDDBA in its recruitment efforts.

IDDBA is a nonprofit membership organization serving the dairy, deli, bakery, cheese and supermarket foodservice industries.