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IFA Appoints Cresanti CEO & President

Robert Cresanti. Photo: IFA website

WASHINGTON—The International Franchise Association announced today that it has promoted Robert Cresanti to be its president and CEO. The trade association declared just days earlier that its CEO of five and a half years, Steve Caldeira, had abruptly left the organization after an unsuccessful renegotiation of his employment contract. It appointed its vice president of government relations, Robert Cresanti, as interim chief operating officer and announced that it would be conducting a search for a new chief executive.

Now, twelve days later, the group announced its search is over with Cresanti being promoted to chief executive.

Cresanti joined the IFA last year from SAP America Inc., where he was vice president of corporate affairs & government relations since 2009. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2006 as Under Secretary for Technology for the Department of Commerce. He chaired multiple bilateral technology trade missions for the U.S. government in the European Union, Asia and Russia and served as Co-Chair for the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In his nearly decade-long service on Capitol Hill, ranging from Committee Chief of Staff in the Senate to Legislative Counsel in the House, he managed legislation before the Banking, Judiciary, Commerce, Government Affairs and Finance Committees.

Cresanti received a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations from Austin College and a law degree from the Baylor University School of Law. He also received a certificate of EC Law from the University of Glasgow Law School and completed master's courses in international relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS.

The organization, which was established by a group of franchisors in 1960 to lobby for their interests, has been fighting a burst of initiatives, ranging from the National Labor Relations Board potentially declaring franchisor McDonald's Corp. as a joint-employer with its franchisees, to laws that franchisee associations have been lobbying for and promoting. As franchisees and their independent associations organized grassroots efforts from California to Maine to draft and support state franchisee protection bills, the IFA responded by launching what it called the Franchise Action Network, putting its own franchisee face at the state level on its political action. In July franchisee associations brought their fight to Washington, D.C. with the introduction of two federal bills by Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN)—the Fair Franchise Act of 2015 and the SBA Franchise Loan Transparency Act. The IFA has come out in strong opposition to both these bills.

Cresanti says of the association that he now leads, "IFA is a strong and vibrant organization and I privilege [sic] to serve in this new capacity to ensure that it remain [sic] strong well into the future."

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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Call him at +1 (270) 321-1268, tweet @bluemaumau or email