From the News

In the News: Consumer Brands President and CEO Profiled in CEO Update; Talks Association Growth and Running Toward the Hardest Problems for Members

Consumer Brands president and CEO David Chavern sat down with CEO Update to discuss his diverse career background and his vision for the future of the association.

Chavern, who holds both a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), joined Consumer Brands in January 2023 after spending seven years as president and CEO of the News Media Alliance. He also spent a decade on the executive leadership team at the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Chavern told CEO Update that he is always looking towards the future and focused on running towards members’ hardest problems.

Excerpts from the article include:

CEO Update: You’ve got some big companies rejoining the association, and some new ones coming in. How are you accomplishing that?

David Chavern: Somebody needs to tell the story about the companies that make the stuff in the grocery store and the drugstore. There has been a hole there; nobody else has represented them collectively. So, part of it is being an aggressive spokesperson and then conveying my vision of the future of the organization, which is bright. There are a lot of issues ahead of us.

CU: I remember hearing even before you came on board that CBA wanted to invest in major new initiatives. Are you still planning to, and what might those be?

DC: I worked for Tom Donohue (at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) for 10 years and one of the things he always said was to run at the hardest problems: Figure out what your members’ hardest problems are and run toward them. Some of the big, complicated things members are wrestling with are state-related: packaging, recycling and state regulatory initiatives around additives and chemicals. And then you have a whole range of federal issues. There’s really bad framing around inflation and the consumer products business. Politicians like to be pointing fingers at us and I think that’s not correct. So, part of it is being a voice for companies trying to drive facts into the discussion and tell the big story about the role of the industry in the economy.

CU: What do you see as the most important leadership traits in an association leader?

DC: The obvious one is storytelling. This is a storytelling business. It’s telling the great story about the industry you represent and telling that to the media and to policymakers, sometimes telling it to the people in the industry to give them a sense of their own importance. A precursor to storytelling is listening to members very carefully.

CU: Where do you see yourself in five years?

DC: Running one of the most impactful trade associations in Washington, D.C., which I firmly believe Consumer Brands will be. We’re gonna get this place rockin’ and rollin’.

Read the full article here.