This week we are announcing the Vertex Awards, however, today we will pause to give respect to Brian Sharoff.

Brian Sharoff, President of the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA), passed away on Saturday, May 23rd, after a brief illness, according to a statement issued by Tim Simmons, PLMA’s Vice President, Communications.

Brian was named President of PLMA in 1981, shortly after the association was founded. During his tenure, the association’s membership grew tremendously, from two hundred manufacturers, suppliers, and brokers in the U.S. to more than 4,400 companies worldwide. His leadership created private label’s most successful trade organization

“Today is a sad day for the entire PLMA family,” said Lisa Manzoline, Director of Sales for Reynolds Consumer Products and Chairman of the Board of Directors of PLMA. “Under Brian Sharoff’s tremendous focus and dedication, the Private Label Manufacturers Association has grown to become a vital and essential resource for suppliers and retailers worldwide. Brian’s leadership will be greatly missed.”

Over his 39-year tenure, Brian led the growth of the annual PLMA trade show in Chicago from a small gathering to the largest private label tradeshow in the United States. His vision also led to the growth of PLMA’s annual “World of Private Label” International Trade Show, held in Amsterdam, which has grown to more than 4,500 stands and now represents manufacturers from nearly 75 countries. 

In addition to the trade exhibitions, PLMA presents conferences and educational programs throughout the year, in addition to publishing exclusive research and studies. The association in recent years has also produced a wide range of original video programming, providing news and information for both the industry and consumers.

Brian joined PLMA after five years as Executive Vice President of the Metropolitan New York Retail Merchants Association. Before that, he served three terms as a member of the New York State legislature. He also held teaching positions at St. Joseph’s University, Rutgers University and The New School of Social Research.

Brian Sharoff is survived by his wife Judith, daughter Alexandra, son Peter, five grandchildren, and sister Shirley Sharoff.

The family has requested that anyone who wishes to pay tribute to Brian’s memory do so in the form of a gift to either

The Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry
PO Box 834, Mount Kisco, NY 10549


Community Center of Northern Westchester
84 Bedford Road, Katonah, NY 10536

I met Brian eleven years ago after I first began writing My Private Brand, we met in the PLMA’s New York City offices. We walked across the street to Docks Oyster Bar, where I experienced the first of many memorable lunches with Brian. He was larger than life, inquisitive and gregarious quizzing me about My Private Brand (just a little blog at the time.) He regaled me with stories of private labels, NYC politics, and his favorite movies.

Brian shaped PLMA with an unwavering vision and passion. The words legend and icon often feel cliché, but for Brian, they are understatements, small words that fall short of encapsulating his life and impact. It is impossible to overstate his influence on the industry.

Since that first lunch, I have been proud to be a part of his industry and proud to count him as colleague, mentor, friend, occasional boss, competitor, and inspiration. 

Thank you, Brian. I will miss you.


Brian Sharoff at our first lunch.