In April of this year, it was announced Cereals Canada and Cigi (the Canadian International Grains Institute) would be merging. The merger came about after four years of talks and collaboration between the two organizations.  

This past Monday, the leadership team for the new Cereals Canada was announced. Dean Dias, who had been serving as the interim CEO of Cigi during the merger, will be the CEO of Cereals Canada going forward. Cam Dahl, who was previously the General Manager of Manitoba Beef Producers, was named as the Chief Strategy Officer. 

For Dias, the appointment as CEO came about after 11 years of work with Cigi in a number of roles. 

“I’m pretty humbled and proud that the board has provided me this opportunity,” Dias said.  

For the new organization, there are a number of challenges on the agenda, but Dias is already looking at how they can tackle those challenges head-on. One of the first things they have in mind is the creation of a strategic plan for the organization going forward, a situation many groups find themselves in as they steer towards the COVID-19 pandemic recovery. 

“I think it’s timely for us to do a strategic plan at this point for a few reasons,” explained Dias. “One, as a newly merged organization, it reassures what we need to do and what are the activities we need to take as a priority to provide value back to our members.” 

Another item is determining what the core activities are. Dias pointed out through Cigi they provide support to customers around the world, something they are having to adapt during the pandemic. 

“We used to do that hands-on, either bringing customers to Canada, or travelling to those countries and providing that type of support, but that wouldn’t be happening right now and this COVID-19 is here to stay,” Dias expanded on the issues. “Until a vaccine comes out, I don’t think we’ll have travel opportunities to go and meet customers personally so we’re trying to adapt.” 

Technology is one of the ways the organization is adapting. They are using webinars and doing what they can to continue to touch base with their customers. Dias explained it as being nimble, adaptive and proactive. 

Once the strategic plan is done, the organization will be looking at a branding review. One of the big reasons for the review will be how the organization takes two well-known names, and puts them together, while still maintaining their own brand.  

“The two brands cannot be lost so they will need to be highlighted somehow,” Dias added.  

Cereals Canada is a national, not-for-profit organization that works with partners across the cereals value chain.