As of January 1, 2020, the United States can count on a single association representing the leather industry. As previously announced, the new Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA) was born from the merger of LIA (tanners) and USHSLA (hides and skins producers and traders), a larger and stronger organisation that will represent on all the official tables the entire leather supply chain of the United States, primarily leather tanners, raw hides processors and meatpackers but also producers of chemicals, machinery and leather goods.
Former USHSLA president Stephen Sothmann assumes the helm as president of the association, while former LIA president John Wittenborn retired at the end of 2019, following 15 years leading LIA and more than 34 years working on behalf of the leather industry. The new organisation, like its predecessor associations, is based in Washington, DC and collaborates with the US Department of Agriculture, in particular in the context of the programme for the development of foreign markets. “The formation of the Leather and Hide Council of America represents an exciting and historically significant turning point for the U.S. leather industry”, said Stephen Sothmann. “The new LHCA establishes a strong, cohesive and vibrant association that will serve as the premier voice of the entire leather supply chain, both in the United States and abroad”. LHCA’ s strength is drawn from the experience of approximately 75 companies representing nearly every facet of the leather supply chain. The merger also means additional resources for the new global marketing campaign promoted by the Americans: “Real Leather. Stay Different”, that celebrates the versatility, beauty and sustainability of U.S. leather.