Sothmann has reportedly been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to join the U.S. government in a role that would require a very short transition time, and will leave his current role later this year.

The LHCA Board of Directors has formed a search committee to find its next President, assisted by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and chaired by Chad Robertson of Harland M Braun Co. The committee is soliciting resumes from candidates in the leather industry as well as policy professionals in Washington DC.

Sothmann said: “It has been a wild and wonderful 12 years working with LHCA and the leather industry as a whole, full of proud accomplishments and deep personal and professional connections, so this is of course a very difficult and bittersweet moment for me.

“I am very sorry that I was unable to break this news to many of you directly or in person. I do think it speaks to the strength of the leather industry as a whole that in order to leave it, you must break the news to dozens, if not hundreds of close colleagues!”

A spokesperson from the LHCA said: “Steve leaves with the goodwill of our organisation and the leather industry at large. His energy, drive and vision have been central to the success of the LHCA. We wish to thank him and wish him the very best in his future endeavours.”