Torben Flinch, managing director of Copenhagen Markets in Denmark, has succeeded Graham Wallace, managing director of City Markets (Glasgow) LLP as chairman of the World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM).
The handover officially took place during the recent WUWM annual general meeting, which was held during the WUWM Conference in Palma de Mallorca, Spain on 14-17 September. This year's conference event attracted a total of 205 delegates from 30 countries.
Mr Flinch thanked Wallace for his contribution to the WUWM over the previous two-and-a-half years and pointed out that, under Wallace’s leadership, the union had successfully improved its international profiling of the markets sector.
In particular, he said, the WUWM had improved the way it promoted the full range of benefits that wholesale and retail markets bring to local economies and communities – facts that have not always been well understood outside the sector.
Mr Flinch informed the assembled delegates of his desire to focus on several key areas during his own two-and-a-half in the role, including increasing the financial and technical resources of the association, developing and strengthening the organisation’s regional work groups and fostering integration between wholesale and retail markets.
He said he would also look to support further implementation of the WUWM guide to good hygienic practices in member markets, as well as continuing collaboration with SANCO and other departments of the European Commission, while also mobilising the capabilities of members in key areas of common concern and action.
He noted: "Cooperation is vital if we want to remain competitive and provide our wholesalers with the best opportunities to confidently develop and expand their businesses, both now and in the future. Key lessons can be found at both the strategic as well as the operational level."
In responding to current trends affecting the wholesale businesses, Mr Flinch said, the union had to continue to be flexible and adaptable, increasing its marketing and ensuring customer accessibility.
"As modern logistical platforms, these developments have succeeded in pushing markets further along the route of providing increased added-value services," he noted.
"Additionally, if we are to compete successfully it is of paramount importance that market operators develop increased possibilities for new wholesalers and entrepreneurs to enter, participate and successfully compete in the sector."
He concluded: "It is therefore vital that the individual manager participates in the market scene internationally in order to be able to see that wholesale markets everywhere are a continually developing business concept very much in demand."
Mr Flinch will be supported by the current vice-chairman elect, Manuel Estrada-Nora, who is international director of Spain's national wholesale market association Mercasa.
Mr Estrada-Nora is due to be formally elected during the upcoming 27th WUWM Congress, which will be hosted by the Istanbul Municipal Market in Istanbul, Turkey from 10-13 May 2011.
Further information on that event and WUWM activities is available by visiting the WUWM website