Kim Jeffery has announced that he will be leaving the top spot at Nestle Waters North America as of Feb. 1 to become non-executive chairman.
He will be succeeded by Tim Brown, President and CEO of Nestle Canada.
It has been a poorly-kept secret in recent years that Jeffery, who has run the company for 20 years, was nearing the end of his highly successful tenure and that Brown, a 22-year NWNA veteran, was first in line to succeed him.
Under Jeffery’s leadership, the company has grown into a bottled water juggernaut, with $4.4 billion in sales in 2011. He is widely credited with taking a leadership role in the industry to help it overcome “ban the bottle” criticism aimed at the sale of bottled water overall. In addition to decreasing the overall PET content of most NWNA packages, Jeffery led a strong campaign highlighting water as a healthier choice option for consumers, ultimately allowing the category to resume strong, consistent growth.
A release from NWNA follows:
Nestle Waters North America Announces New President & CEO
STAMFORD, Conn., Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Current Nestle Waters North America Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer, Kim Jeffery, plans to step down from that role after 20 years, and 34 years with the company, to assume a non-executive Chairman position effective February 1, 2013. He will be succeeded by Tim Brown, President and CEO of Nestle Canada, who has been appointed President and CEO of Nestle Waters North America Inc. (NWNA).
Brown, 49, has served as President and CEO of Nestle Canada since 2010, overseeing global brands including Stouffer’s®, Lean Cuisine®, Buitoni®, Nescafe®, Kit Kat® and Smarties®. The total Nestle in Canada business employs 3,500 people in 21 facilities. Prior to that, Brown spent 22 years at NWNA, most recently heading retail operations as executive vice president and general manager until transitioning to his current role.
During his time at Nestle Canada, Brown has had a significant impact on the company and achieved sustained profitability. Brown oversaw the introduction of popular new products, developed the Nestle Canada Vision and Values with inputs from across the workforce and initiated a continuous excellence process to meet a Nestle worldwide standard. Under Brown, Nestle Canada was recognized as one of the Best Workplaces in Canada in 2012.
“I am excited to continue to build on the legacy achieved by Kim Jeffery,” says Brown. “Kim led the company from a single brand to the largest bottled water company in North America, while emphasizing environmental responsibility and cultivating the very best corporate culture in the food and beverage business.”
Jeffery, 64, joined the company in 1978 as Central Division Sales Manager, and advanced over the years to assume the company’s top position in 1992. Jeffery has been at the vanguard of the rapidly growing bottled water industry, providing a widely available source of calorie-free, healthful refreshment to consumers. Under the leadership of Jeffery, NWNA has grown organically from a $650 million in revenues business 20 years ago into the leading bottled water company in North America. With sales of $4.4 billion in 2011, the company holds seven of the top 10 U.S. brands including Poland Spring®, Arrowhead®, Deer Park®, Ice Mountain®, Ozarka®, Zephyrhills® and Nestle® Pure Life®.
“Because I have spent most of my adult life in this company, my connection to the business and its people will endure,” says Kim Jeffery. “The business success and strong values-based culture we built as a team transcends any individual, and having known and worked with Tim for more than 25 years, I know he is committed to building on this strong foundation as he leads the organization to continued growth and success.”
Brown will assume his new position at NWNA in February 2013 and joins the CEOs of the other Nestle U.S. operating companies including Nestle Nutrition, Nestle Professional, Nestle Purina PetCare and Nestle USA. In Canada, Brown will be succeeded by Shelley Martin; she is currently President of Nestle Canada’s frozen division.