Geoff Freeman to stand down as CEO of American Gaming Association

Business News

Geoff Freeman, who has for the past five years served as the president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American Gaming Association (AGA) and led the lobbying effort in Washington, DC, to repeal the federal ban on sports betting, is to reportedly become the new president and CEO for the Grocery Manufacturers Association(GMA).

In a Tuesday email to gaming industry colleagues from the AGA board of director’s member and Chief Executive Officer of Penn National Gaming, Inc. since November 01, 2013, Tim Wilmott writes to communicate that Freeman has accepted the new position with the GMA, which represents the $2.1 trillion food industry that likewise announced the appointment on June 5, 2018.

According to the email, Freeman will retain his position with the AGA through the end of July, during which time the succession process will be launched. Wilmott further explains that over the coming weeks, he along with Executive Committee colleagues will work with Freeman to build a plan of transition, solicit opinions as to a best-fit replacement and launch a search process for a new CEO. He notes that the formation of the committee does not rule out the possibility of choosing a candidate from within the AGA.

The official press release from the company which represents the world’s largest branded food, beverage and consumer product companies, communicates that its selection of Freeman came after an exhaustive search following the announcement by Pamela G. Bailey in February that she would be retiring after nearly a decade as the company’s president and CEO. Freeman is to reportedly work alongside Bailey, GMA’s board of directors and its senior team over the next couple of months to help facilitate a smooth leadership transition.

Head of the GMA’s board search committee and CEO for Freshpet, Inc., William (Billy) Cyr, said, “Geoff has a proven track record of building unity, creating successful engagement on complex issues and taking a proactive approach to advocacy that drives growth and expansion.”

Cyr added that they look forward to benefitting from Freeman’s “extensive experience in leading transformative change across industries as diverse as health care insurance, travel and tourism, and casino gaming.”

The email from Mott briefly highlights the AGA’s successes during Freeman’s tenure most notablly the May 14, 2018, repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) by the Supreme Court, which paves the way for gambling legalization and expansion throughout the country.

Previously Chief Operating Officer for the U.S. Travel Association, Freeman successfully worked to get The Travel Promotion Act of 2009 signed into law, which reportedly created $200 million in annual funding for the promotion of tourism to the U.S., paving the way for the creation of the TSA PreCheck program, according to the press release.

For his part, Freeman said, “I’ve always been drawn to industries that have a close connection to consumers and am energized by the opportunity to play a role in driving the growth and evolution of one that is a vital part of people’s daily lives.”

“I look forward to leading the development of strategies that firmly establish GMA as an effective driver of growth and collaboration in our industry,” said Freeman.