Gibson hopes to cut through ‘noise’ on sustainable sourcing in new role

Phil Gibson, who stood down as head of seafood for US retail giant Safeway late last year, is starting a new role with consultancy Encore Associates.

Gibson, whose exit from Safeway was revealed by Undercurrent News, has known the principles of the company for some years, as several members are also ex-Safeway, he said.

He told Undercurrent at the time that a role in seafood was the plan and, on Monday, he was named vice president at Encore Associates, a California-based strategic advisory firm, sales and marketing organization and "solutions provider to the national food and consumer goods industry", according to its website.

“They approached me, and after pondering the wisdom of going solo vs. joining an established firm, I felt I would be more effective with the latter,” he said.

The flexibility of working with Encore is what attracts, he said. “I have the freedom to pursue the programs I want, while having the support team that will help make me more effective.”

In terms of the type of areas Gibson will be advising companies on, he has some thoughts.

"While at Safeway, I was often in despair at the rhetoric and conflict between factions over sustainable sourcing,” he said.

Gibson hopes to serve as a “neutral third party, that can cut through the noise and help develop rational programs is needed to bring faster solutions to the issues. I will spend much of my efforts in this arena”.

In addition, there are lots of innovation going on in the marketplace that aren't “getting air”, he said.

Three such examples are shelf-life extenders, packaging and processing innovation and web-based purchasing”, he told Undercurrent. “I feel there is big growth potential in all these.”

Gibson also looks forward to the fact the role will be “more industry focused and tailored to overall improvement, rather than proprietary solutions geared to a single company culture”, he said.

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