Food Marketing Executive Chuck Miller Dies at Age 79

Best known for his fifteen years as head of the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) loss prevention initiatives from 1987 to 2002, Charles Imbrie “Chuck” Miller, CPP, CSP, had a major impact on the supermarket segment and loss prevention industry as a whole. Miller influenced and mentored many loss prevention executives who are leaders in the industry today.

“Our entire industry and so many of my colleagues are deeply saddened to hear of our friend and mentor’s passing, as he touched so many of our lives both personally and professionally,” said Dan Faketty, vice president of asset protection for Southeastern Grocers and current chair of the National Retail Federation’s LP council. “He was truly on the cutting edge of building proactive loss prevention programs for not only FMI member companies, but all retailers. These programs are used even today to positively impact retail stores.”

“I first met Chuck in the early ‘90s when he was visiting Safeway and attended a shrink presentation I was giving in Seattle,” recalled Kathleen Smith, vice president of corporate security at Safeway. “Afterwards he asked that I give the presentation at an upcoming FMI loss prevention conference in Georgia and later asked me to join the LP committee. I’ve been on the committee ever since.”

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Karl Langhorst, CPP, CFI, former head of loss prevention at Kroger and Randall’s/Tom Thumb supermarkets and now executive vice president of ALTO US, said, “Chuck was the consummate loss prevention professional. His vast knowledge of our industry never ceased to amaze me, and I sought out his expertise on multiple topics numerous times throughout my career. His legacy leading the FMI LP council, as well as his many other contributions to our profession, are truly remarkable.”

Many of his colleagues credit Miller for being one of the first in the industry to advocate that retailers and law enforcement focus efforts on fighting organized retail crime (ORC). Safeway’s Smith said, “Chuck was truly a forward thinker. I remember I first heard about ORC from him. Many have taken credit, but if Chuck was not the first, he was right up there with the pioneers. Looking back, it must have been very difficult convincing folks early on, but Chuck never gave up.”

One of his most noted accomplishments was working with retailers such as Target stores to develop a first-of-its-kind video documenting ORC (referred to as organized retail theft at the time) titled “Thieves Market.” Produced in the mid-1990s, the 13-minute video explained in detail the ORC problem to retailers, law enforcement, and legislators.The video was so well produced that it was used as a training tool at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, to train law enforcement professionals and FBI special agents to better understand the methods of criminal enterprises impacting retail stores.

As vice president of loss prevention at Target, King Rogers worked with Miller closely on the awareness and training projects related to ORC. Now an executive with Master Technology Group, Rogers said of Miller, “One of his many characteristics that made him successful and contributed so much to our industry was his fearless ability to take risks. When he was convinced that something was the right thing to do for FMI and the whole loss prevention industry, he did it. Occasionally he might have to ask for forgiveness later, but he got it done. Incredibly courageous with tireless energy, he was a fun man to watch as he constantly made significant impacts on our industry. It’s too bad that so many of today’s younger LP leaders did not have the opportunity to profit from knowing Chuck Miller as so many of us did.”

Miller retired from FMI in 2002 but continued to serve as a consultant to various companies and associations, including the National Food Processors Association and the NRF. In 2005, the NRF published Miller’s study titled Organized Retail Theft: Raising Awareness, Offering Solutions that led to the FBI asking Miller to organize the FBI’s ad hoc committee on ORC, which continues to be hosted by NRF.

During his tenure with FMI, Miller was responsible for coordinating numerous supermarket-related initiatives, including customer and employee safety, fire prevention, disaster and damage control, product tampering, security, crisis management, insurance, and substance abuse. He also developed FMI’s regulatory compliance programs relating to loss prevention, hazardous substances, and other areas. He also developed the first of its kind loss prevention email-based e-share network for industry executives to share information and obtain guidance on literally hundreds of current issues and trends that became a model for other associations.

Miller was an immediate and enthusiastic supporter of LP Magazine when it debuted in September 2001, inviting the magazine staff to speak at FMI conferences and encouraging all supermarket LP professionals to subscribe to the magazine. He also contributed articles to the magazine—one on the food industry’s response to bioterrorism and a second on planning for terrorist attacks against retailers.

Prior to FMI, Miller was president and owner of Loss Prevention Systems, a management consulting firm he founded in 1970. His firm’s services included producing loss prevention seminars, designing and implementing security and safety programs, conducting security surveys and internal investigations for management, and training management and supervisory personnel. Earlier in his career, he served as manager of loss prevention for Kroger and as director of security and training for The Tappan Company.

Visitation for Miller will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14, at Andrew Chapel United Methodist church in Vienna, VA, with services at 2:00 p.m. and reception to follow.

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