The Produce Marketing Association and the United Fresh Produce Association have called off their merger talks after months of negotiations.

Mike O’Brien, PMA chair, said in a statement issued on July 17 that he was profoundly disappointed that the two associations were unable to agree on a mutually acceptable merger model that would meet the needs of their members and the industry. He co-chaired a joint task force that has been exploring the merger over the past 18 months and said the task force engaged leading experts in association mergers to look at how to advance the industry of association members while reducing duplication and costs.

Industry sources say that a stumbling block was PMA’s insistence that their chief executive officer Bryan Silbermann lead the new organization.

United Fresh sent a letter to its members after the talks stalled. David Krause, board chair, said that United’s leadership was committed to acting only in the best interest of its member companies and the entire produce industry, without predetermined constraints on programs, executive leadership, or staff.

“We are disappointed that, in the end, PMA’s current leadership did not agree with what we believe was a very fair, member-oriented plan that could have blended the goals and priorities of both associations,” he wrote.

For more on the topic, see Chris Schlect's Wind Machine blog.