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May 20, 2023

Executive Compensation at the National Confectioners Association (2020)

by Anne Paddock

The National Confectioners Association (NCA) is tax-exempt, non-profit trade association (501 (c) 6) that promotes chocolate, candy, gum, and mints along with the companies that make these treats. Based in Washington, DC, the NCA focuses on 7 key areas:

  • Public Policy and Government Affairs
  • Scientific and Regulatory Affairs
  • Industry Affairs and the Sweets & Snacks Expo
  • International Business Development
  • Meetings and Membership
  • Public Affairs and Communications
  • Administration and Finance

A small trade association by numbers:  the NCA raises about $20 million annually (primarily from the expo, membership dues, programs, trade shows, and conferences), spends about $19 million (primarily on compensation for employees and conferences, conventions, and meetings), and has $10 million in net assets.  And, yet the NCA paid out $1.2 million to the President and CEO, John H Downs, Jr in 2020, 2019, and 2018.. In addition, a $100,000 payment was made to his retirement plan in 2020 ($75,000 in 2019). And, finally, NCA paid for first class and business class travel for Mr. Downs along with companion travel, and the “spousal expenses.”

32 employees received $6.5 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $200,000. However, only 13 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 8 most highly compensated listed below:

  • $1,210,132:  John H Downs Jr, President and CEO
  • $   390,471:  Elise Fennig, Chief of Staff
  • $   361,324:  Liz Clark, VP, Government Affairs
  • $   333,615:  Chris Gindlesperger, VP, Public Affairs and Communications
  • $   304,764:  Debra Miller, VP, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs
  • $   303,693:  Larry Wilson, VP, Industry Affairs
  • $   252,217:  Libby Taylor, VP, Meetings and Membership
  • $   252,191:  Tracy Thompson, VP, Finance

5 of the 8 most highly compensated employees are female while 3 are male. The most highly compensated employee was John Downs, who received $1.2 million in 2020; and $5.5 million in compensation over the past 5 years:

  • 2020:  $1,210,132
  • 2019:  $1,244,112
  • 2018:  $1,200,458
  • 2017:  $  975,409
  • 2016:  $ 924,123

8 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the five highest listed below:

  • $628,814:  GMMB, of Washington, DC for public relations
  • $  410,965:  Hamilton Place Strategies, of Washington, DC for public affairs*
  • $  475,276:  Propress, of Cleveland, OH for publishing
  • $  586,095:  Convexx, of Las Vegas, NV for trade show management
  • $  255,695:  Olson Frank and Weeda, of Washington, DC for legal/lobbying

“*” Hamilton Place Strategies received the exact same amount of compensation in the prior year.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2019 for the year ending March 30, 2020), click here.

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