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United States of America - US industry bodies announce plans to merge
03 October 2018


Two US leather industry bodies want to merge to form one organisation. The US Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) and Leather Industries of America (LIA) said at their joint annual meeting in Chicago at the end of September that they had agreed to “seek a merger”, prompted by “overlapping membership, increasing alignment of purpose and interests and a strong desire to secure the future of the hide, skin and leather industries in the US”.

The final decision to merge the entities must be approved by the membership of each organisation according to their own bylaws.
Once the merger is finalised, the expectation is that USHLA’s president, Stephen Sothmann, will be the chief executive of the newly combined entity. John Wittenborn, current president of LIA, plans to retire by the end of 2019.
“The merger makes sense at this time in the industry’s history,” John Wittenborn said after the Chicago meeting. “It will create a strong, cohesive and vibrant association representing the entire hides, skins and leather supply chain in the US.”
Each organisation elected a new chairman at the meeting, with USHSLA choosing Jay Jensen of Southwest Hide Company, and LIA electing Bob Hawley of SB Foot Tanning Company.

In comments after the Chicago event, Stephen Sothmann said: “The US hide, skin and leather industry supply chain has more at stake now than ever before. Soft global market demand, international trade disruptions and an increasingly consolidated industry require our representative bodies to take bold action. By combining our efforts, USHSLA and LIA will position the new entity to be the premier voice of the entire leather supply chain, both in the US and abroad.”

Information courtesy of Leatherbiz