The merger was the result of a year-long effort to bring the two associations together. Based in Washington DC, the LHCA combines the membership, expertise and resources of its predecessor organisations. Stephen Sothmann, former president of the USHSLA assumes the helm as President of LHCA as John Wittenborn, former President of the LIA, retired at the end of 2019 after 15 years leading LIA and more than 34 years working in the leather industry. “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 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 U.S. and abroad”, he added.
The LHCA has a diverse membership of approximately 75 companies, including meatpackers, hides and skins processors, traders, leather tanners, finished leather goods producers, footwear companies, chemical suppliers, machinery producers, trade media and market reporters. According to the LHCA, the organisation is also now better equipped due to its integrated membership, “to confront existing and emerging challenges to the industry, and to seize new opportunities”, including lending additional resources to its global marketing campaign, “Real Leather. Stay Different.”, which seeks to celebrate the versatility, beauty and sustainability of U.S. leather.