Inside PPAI: PPAI Appoints Interim President, Announces Executive Search

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In February, PPAI’s Board of Directors elevated Executive Vice President Robert (Bob) McLean, Jr., CPA, CAE, CEM, to lead the Association as interim president while the board undertakes an executive search with search firm SearchWide Global to replace outgoing President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE.

“We are incredibly excited that Bob McLean will have the opportunity to lead and work alongside the board of directors to ensure a healthy transition of knowledge and leadership,” says PPAI Board Chair Todd Pottebaum, MAS+. “And we are equally thrilled to partner with SearchWide Global to help identify the next president and CEO of PPAI. We are confident in the thoughtful search process to be employed and that PPAI, with the expertise and support of SearchWide Global, will identify the next leader of this organization.”

McLean, longtime executive vice president for PPAI, adds, “I’ve had the privilege of working with Paul Bellantone for the past 13 years. Our efforts to protect, grow and engage the promotional products industry have been nothing short of incredible and rewarding. I look forward to our continued partnership over the next several weeks of this transition, and I am grateful to the board of directors for entrusting me to lead the organization as we work through an executive search.”

SearchWide Global is a nationally recognized executive search firm specializing in the trade association, hospitality and experiential marketing industries. SearchWide Global Executive Vice President Mark Gnatovic is leading the search effort for PPAI, and Senior Vice President Kellie Henderson is assisting with marking and sourcing of candidates. 

“We are elated to work with PPAI,” says Gnatovic. “The professionalism and process put forth by PPAI to select SearchWide Global only enhances our core desire to serve and support PPAI’s executive search objectives. We are confident that we will identify a candidate who exemplifies PPAI’s core values and will serve the Association into the next phase of the promotional products industry.”

Last November, Bellantone announced he would be leaving PPAI in March 2021. Bellantone had been with PPAI for more than 20 years and had been president and CEO since 2011.


James Khattak is news editor of PPB.

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