This week’s election for TFWA President marks the end of an era as the highly respected Erik Juul-Mortensen steps aside.

FRANCE/INTERNATIONAL. Tomorrow’s battle for the TFWA Presidency is likely to be very closely fought if a ‘People’s vote’ conducted by The Moodie Davitt Report is anything to go by.

As previously reported four individuals have so far declared their candidacy though any member of the Management Committee could throw their hat into the ring before tomorrow’s election.

A poll conducted by The Moodie Davitt Report (see below) has so far generated over 1,700 votes, with the following results:

  • Andrew Ford  – 22%
  • Alain Maingreaud – 6%
  • Gerry Munday – 45%
  • Thom Rankin – 27%

But crucially, it will be the 40 members of the Management Committee who decide and each of the four candidates has multiple admirers on the committee. Lobbying is reported to have been intense and in political parlance it’s currently too close to call.

As reported, long-time TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen is not standing for re-election when his current mandate ends this month.

The much-respected Juul-Mortensen has been a member of the TFWA Management Committee since 1984, and has served as its President since September 1999.

Under TFWA rules, any nominee for the role from outside the Management Committee had to submit their application by 12 November. Any TFWA Management Committee or Board member can nominate themselves at this week’s Management Committee meeting.

Candidates will each make a short presentation to the Management Committee on Friday, after which the vote for the one-year post takes place.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the public nature of the role, the lead-up to the election is being played out entirely behind the scenes. So who are the candidates?

The Moodie Davitt Report can confirm that four well-known travel retail executives have so far submitted their applications – Andrew Ford, Gerry Munday, Alain Maingreaud and Thom Rankin. Each has extensive experience of TFWA affairs (see analysis below) and in three cases solid supplier experience.

(Left to right) Andrew Ford, Gerry Munday, Alain Maingreaud, Thom Rankin.

Here is a look at their profiles. As mentioned, further nominees could emerge.

ANDREW FORD: Founder of a highly successful Hong Kong-based travel industry advisory firm Paccaya Resources, Ford is well-versed in both travel retail and TFWA affairs.

He spent 12 years at former drinks giant Allied Domecq, culminating in a spell as Marketing Director Asia/Pacific for the duty free division. He then worked for seven years as CEO of TFWA before moving to travel retailer DFS Group in 2006 as Vice President, Global Business Development.

Ford has also been an Executive Board member of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA), and a board member of Airports Council International (ACI) and the Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA). In 2017 he was elected President of APTRA.

Status: Confirmed candidate.

Strengths: As well networked as anyone in the business, Ford is an adept politician with strong knowledge not only of supplier issues (key to the TFWA role) but also retailer and airport affairs. His APTRA experience and Asian knowledge would be an asset to TFWA given the region’s burgeoning importance to travel retail. Knows TFWA inside out.

GERRY MUNDAY: A veteran of the travel retail channel, Munday retires on Thursday as Global Travel Retail Director of Italian fashion and accessories brand Furla after 32 years in the industry. She spent 20 years from 1986 in a similar role at Swiss luxury fashion house Bally, before becoming Global Travel Retail Director at MCM, the Sung-Joo Kim owned independent luxury accessories house.

Status: Confirmed candidate.

Strengths: Outstanding knowledge of supplier issues and a passionate advocate for the brand community as demonstrated by her candid and thoughtful speech at last month’s Trinity Forum in Shanghai. No-one could question her channel commitment or track record (in both her most recent roles she drove tremendous growth for companies that had previously boxed under their weight in travel retail).

Munday has also been a strong supporter of charity issues (much to Juul-Mortensen’s credit, an increasingly core part of the TFWA agenda in recent years), and been a key figure in the admirably proactive Women in Travel Retail (WiTR). In a sector still underrepresented by women at the highest level, her gender might be a plus in any vote.

ALAIN MAINGREAUD: A former TFWA Directeur Général (Managing Director) from 2010 until October 2017, Maingreaud has held the part-time role of Associate Director since then. He joined the association in 1995 as Commercial Director, later becoming Exhibitions and Business Development Director before assuming the executive leadership role.

Status: Though he would neither confirm nor deny his candidature when approached by The Moodie Davitt Report, we can confirm it.

Strengths: 23 years’ involvement with TFWA, from its principle show-organising activities to its complex internal politics makes the Frenchman a serious candidate if the Management Committee is seeking an experienced insider.

THOM RANKIN: Manager Business Development at Dutch consumer technology specialist Capi, Rankin is another veteran travel retail executive, with a long track record of commitment to TFWA and to other industry associations such as the ETRC (as Corporate Affairs Director). He has been involved in the duty free and travel retail sector for over 40 years and has been Vice President of The Holland Duty Free Group.

Status: Confirmed candidate.

Strengths: Years of experience as a supplier, mainly in the consumer technology sphere. Plenty of voluntary commitment to the ETRC and TFWA, including a long-time tenure on the latter’s board as Vice-President Conferences & Research.