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03/30/2020

Former IGA Chairman Tom Haggai Dies

Mike Troy
Editorial Director, Grocery Group
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Former IGA Chairman Tom Haggai Dies
Tom Haggai

Dr. Thomas Stephens “Tom” Haggai, chairman emeritus of the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA), died March 27 of natural causes at the age of 89. Haggai became involved with IGA beginning in 1972, and during a more than 40-year career, he had a huge impact on the organization and the competitiveness of its members.

During his IGA career, Haggai held a variety of roles, including nonexecutive chairman and later chairman and CEO. He stepped down from his daily duties at IGA and was named chairman emeritus in 2016, but he kept up to date on IGA’s progress and its retailers until his death, according to Mark Batenic, his successor as chairman of Chicago-based IGA. John Ross is the organization's current president and CEO.

The first person from outside the supermarket industry to have a position on the board, Haggai became IGA president and CEO in 1986. In the 1990s, under Haggai’s leadership, IGA membership grew worldwide. He also developed the Red Oval Family Partner program, an alliance of food manufacturers and service providers to provide resources to member independents. The Hometown Proud theme was also Haggai’s idea.

A native of Kalamazoo, Mich., and resident of High Point, N.C., Haggai was also a radio commentator, public speaker and Southern Baptist minister.

Survivors include his wife, Buren; four children; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and a brother. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Read more in the article on the website of Progressive Grocer sister publication Retail Leader.

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