Tom Haggai To Become IGA Chairman Emeritus
a lifetime of dedicated service to IGA and its members, IGA Chairman Dr. Thomas
S. Haggai has announced that he will transition to chairman emeritus of IGA
effective April 1, 2016. IGA President and CEO Mark Batenic becomes chairman of
IGA on the same date.
is incredibly grateful for Tom Haggai's leadership and innovation," IGA
CEO Mark Batenic said. "Tom has been an ambassador to IGA for nearly 60
years now, and he will always be the inspirational face of IGA. Our retailers,
manufacturers and IGA staff from around the world can't thank him enough for
his contributions to this community-focused family business.
made history in 1972 as the first person from outside of the industry ever to
hold a position on the IGA board. Haggai, a Baptist minister, radio commentator
and public speaker from High Point, N.C., had been a friend of IGA during the
1960s, frequently speaking at its national conventions and regional meetings.
After serving on IGA's board for four years, Haggai was named non-executive
chairman in 1976.
became IGA's president and CEO in 1986, when he led an effort to organize the
company more effectively and build a system-wide image of higher quality and
service. He tightened restrictions on stores belonging to IGA, weeding out many
low-volume stores that did not meet IGA's new branding standards. Quickly
thereafter IGA drew international recognition. In 1988, C. ltoh (now ltochu) of
Tokyo, Japan, joined IGA, followed by Davids Holdings Pty. Ltd. of Australia.
Under Haggai's leadership during the '90s, IGA's international growth soared
with Papua New Guinea, Korea, China, the Caribbean, Brazil, the Czech Republic,
Indonesia, Malaysia and South Africa among the countries joining the Alliance.
Today IGA continues to grow globally, and is in more than 30 countries around
of Haggai's most noteworthy accomplishments includes the development in 1986 of
the Red Oval Family Partner program, an alliance of the industry's premier food
manufacturers and service providers and associations that partner with IGA to
provide extensive resources that are unavailable to other independents. He
personally extended offers to leading food manufacturers and service companies
to join the program, with 30 charter Red Oval partner companies. These
partners, then and now, provide invaluable insights that guide the development
of programs and events, and also sponsor many IGA programs and events.
the mid-'90s Haggai initiated the creation of the ever-popular IGA
"Hometown Proud" theme that still today defines IGA's roots and its
retailers' commitment to community involvement and personalized, localized
customer service. Previously IGA had just two national marketing/advertising
themes: "The Owner is the Store" in 1967 and "Across the USA
It's IGA" in 1983.