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IFMA chief Licata to retire

CHICAGO Michael J Licata, who has served as president and chief executive of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association for the past 31 years, told IFMA’s board of directors today that he plans to retire sometime in 2009.

The association will begin conducting a search for his replacement later this year. Licata said he would work with his successor throughout 2009. His plans were announced today to IFMA's Silver Plate jury, which includes several trade publication editors and the 2007 Silver Plate award winners.

Licata was named to IFMA's top post in 1977. Previously, he had served as the executive secretary to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare during President Gerald Ford's administration and as an international trade specialist for the Department of Commerce.

During his tenure at IFMA he helped to transform it from a nearly bankrupt organization into one of the foodservice industry's most influential trade groups with more than 400 members and a $10 million budget. He also built relationships with the National Restaurant Association and its Educational Foundation; the International Foodservice Distributors Association; the National Council of Chain Restaurants; the Women's Foodservice Forum; the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers; the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance; and the American Hotel & Motel Association.

Today, IFMA offers its members a wide range of services, from educational programs and training seminars to detailed surveys that quantify the industry's buying power. It also hosts the annual Chain Operators Exchange, or COEX, and the Gold & Silver Plate Awards banquet.

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