Mike O’Brien, co-chair of the joint task force leading Produce Marketing Association’s and United Fresh Produce Association’s merger discussions, today issued the following statement:
“Over the past 18 months, I have been privileged to serve PMA and the produce industry as the chair of the Produce Marketing Association task force exploring the opportunities to merge with the United Fresh Produce Association. I accepted that responsibility because of my personal belief that we are stronger together than working alone.
“I know I speak on behalf of the entire PMA Board when I say that we entered into the negotiations with UFPA with one goal in mind – to do what is best for our members and the produce industry. We never lost our focus on fulfilling that goal.
“We engaged leading experts in association mergers to ensure that we took every step possible to advance the interests of our members across the global supply chain while reducing duplication and costs. Those experts guided us through a disciplined legal due diligence process and comprehensive financial modeling to assess both the opportunities and challenges of a merger. Let me assure you that our duty to represent our members’ best interests was first and foremost in our minds at every stage of this process.
“I acknowledge with profound disappointment that despite our best efforts we were unable to agree on an acceptable joint association model that would meet both member and industry needs. Once again, let me state for the record that this was a decision made by PMA’s volunteer leaders on behalf of our members. PMA remains committed to building collaborative relationships with all our association partners in the U.S. and abroad.
“I have served the produce industry as a volunteer leader for over 12 years, chairing both PMA and the Produce for Better Health Foundation. PMA’s strength has always been its ability to unite our industry, and move forward together toward our common goal of increasing consumption. I know we can move past the recent events to continue to work together to ensure a future where our fresh fruits and vegetables are always at the center of the plate.”