Pepsi Bottling Veteran King New Cytosport CEO

Speaking of Muscle Milk (as we just did in regard to how Bolthouse Farms’ new plans might affect the brand in convenience stores), it looks like there’s a new head honcho running its parent company, Cytosport.

Rob King, a former Pepsi Bottling Group (now Pepsi Beverages Co.) executive who has worked closely with key Cytosport investor TSG Partners on its Cytosport, Neuro, and Island Oasis investments, was named CEO of the sports nutrition company effective immediately.

He replaces Cytosport co-founder Mike Pickett, who will now serve as president, according to an announcement released Monday. Greg Pickett, the company chairman, is Mike Pickett’s father.

Greg Pickett, Cytosport Chairman and Co-Founder

“Rob has been a key member of our board for the past year and has served as a consultant and advisor to the board and executive team for the past two years,” Greg Pickett said. “There is no one who knows our company, brands and customers better. ”

Indeed, King was the President of PBG  for North America in 2008 when the company began working with Muscle Milk as a distribution partner. King left PBG in 2010, when the company was re-absorbed into parent company PepsiCo.

Following a rocky start in which sales teams were not fully aligned with its new, national partner, Muscle Milk has taken off in the years since it became part of the Pepsi network. According to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, Muscle Milk sales were up nearly 32 percent, to about $250 million in covenience, drug, supermarket, and warehouse channels — not counting other core channels for Cytosport, which does a brisk business in gyms and supplement stores like GNC and Vitamin Shoppe.

The complete release is below:

Benicia, Calif.  (June 22, 2013) – CytoSport™, one of the largest sports nutrition companies in the United States announced today that its Board of Directors has elected Rob King as Chief Executive Officer of the corporation, effective immediately. Mr. King succeeds Mike Pickett, co-founder of the company, who will now serve as President and maintain an active role in the daily operations of the company in conjunction with the CEO.

“I could not be more proud of the leadership Mike has exemplified within this company from day one, and look forward to his continued achievements in his ongoing role as President,” said CytoSport Chairman and Founder Greg Pickett.  “We are committed to the continual development of this organization, and we are thrilled to have a leader of Rob’s stature and experience lead our company through its next phase of growth.  Rob has been a key member of our board for the past year and has served as a consultant and advisor to the board and executive team for the past two years.  There is no one who knows our company, brands and customers better. We look forward to leveraging his 30-plus years of experience in the consumer products and beverage industries to further advance our leadership position in the rapidly growing sports protein segment.”

Mr. King has 33 years of experience in leading consumer packaged goods and beverage companies including 21 years in the Pepsi system in North America, serving as Executive Vice President and President of North America for Pepsi Bottling Group before retiring in 2010, coincident with the sale of the company to PepsiCo. For the past three years, Mr. King has been a key independent consultant for TSG Consumer Partners and their portfolio of clients, including CytoSport, Island Oasis (Walpole, Mass.) and Neuro Beverages (Santa Monica, Calif.).  He currently serves on the board of directors for all three companies.

Prior to joining PepsiCo in 1989, Mr. King spent five years with E&J Gallo Winery and four years with Procter & Gamble in a variety of roles in sales and marketing. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Fairfield University.

“I am so excited for the future of CytoSport and the brands under its umbrella,” said Mr. King.  “I have worked closely with the Pickett family and share their passion for producing the best products that lead the charge in the sports nutrition industry.  We will continue to do just that.  The CytoSport team is comprised of a talented group from top to bottom who share the same strategic vision, and it is now my job to guide us to achieve our goals.  I look forward to continuing to work with the Pickett family, our Board of Directors and the entire CytoSport team to remain an industry leader in all we do.”

ABOUT CytoSport™

CytoSport™, Inc. is one of the largest sports nutrition companies in the U.S. and provides high quality nutritional products to help athletes and active lifestyle individuals achieve their peak performance potential. Founded in 1998 by father and son duo Greg and Mike Pickett, the business wholly owns its NSF International GMP for Sport™  Registered manufacturing and packaging facility in Benicia, Calif. The CytoSport team is dedicated to working with sports scientists, coaches and trainers to redefine protein-enhanced products to promote workout recovery, lean muscle growth and sustained energy.  CytoSport helps in building athletes from the inside out™  with a complete line of powders, shakes and bars and is the parent company to Muscle Milk®, Monster Milk®, Evolve™ and Cytomax®.