WASHINGTON — Robert J. (Sandy) Whann IV, president of Leidenheimer Baking Co., New Orleans, has been elected chairman of the Independent Bakers Association.
Mr. Whann succeeds John F. Popp, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Aunt Millie’s Bakeries, Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind. The succession took effect June 19 at a ceremony at the conclusion of the 35th annual meeting of the I.B.A. at the Washington Court hotel in Washington.
With roots dating back to the 19th century, Leidenheimer bakes a range of hearth bread products such as po-boys and muffalettas (Italian round bread). Mr. Whann is the great-grandson of George Leidenheimer, who established the baking company in 1896 after moving to New Orleans from Deidesheim, Germany.
The Leidenheimer baking plant is located on Simon Bolivar Ave., and the company gained attention several years ago when it suffered damage during Hurricane Katrina. The baking plant is located at a site a few hundred yards from the Louisiana Superdome. At the I.B.A. annual meeting the following year Mr. Whann gave a presentation on lessons learned from the disaster. The talk became the basis for an extensive interview and feature story in Milling & Baking News.
Nicholas Pyle, president of the I.B.A., said Mr. Whann will encounter something of a policy storm in his role as the association’s chairman, with major issues of concern ranging from health care to card check. Mr. Pyle credited Mr. Popp as a "very active and engaged" chairman who "fought hard to expose speculation in the commodity markets and often spoke out when legislation or regulation could harm the baking industry."