People Moves: It’s Academic For van Rensburg; Project Juice Hires Head of Innovation

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Deryck van Rensburg

Deryck van Rensburg, the head of the now-defunct Coke/Keurig partnership and the first president of Coke’s Venturing and Emerging Brands unit (VEB) has left the company to take a position as dean of the business school at Pepperdine University. A 32-year international business executive, van Rensburg will run Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management when he takes over the post on Nov. 1. Most recently the head of global ventures at Coke, van Resnburg oversaw the purchases of Honest Tea and Zico and outlined the footprint for the soft drink giant’s strategic investments in innovative companies with the goal of incubating Coke’s next billion-dollar brand.

Meanwhile, VEB has added an experienced sales executive to its ranks. After a decade as president of Coca-Cola Consolidated’s BYB Brands incubation division, Norm George has accepted a sales and brand building role at the unit. Prior to heading up BYB Brands, George spent 25 years at Coca-Cola Consolidated, the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the U.S., most recently as senior vice president, chief marketing and customer officer.

First reported by beverage industry newsletter Beverage Business Insights, George’s hire arrives as another top VEB executive steps down. Chuck Muth, the senior vice president of sales for VEB, told the publication “it was time for a change” and that he’ll take some time before deciding whether or not to remain retired. Muth’s tenure at VEB saw him manage sales for the likes of Honest Tea, ZICO and illy issimo.


Sascha Weiss

California cold-pressed juice company Project Juice has hired veteran chef and plant-based food expert Sascha Weiss as its head of innovation. Project Juice co-founder Rachel Malsin said the newly created role will “allow us to continue to be innovation leaders in a quickly evolving space, and allows us to continue to expand our current offerings to go beyond organic, cold-pressed juice and plant-based foods.”

After 3+ years at coconut water brand Harmless Harvest, Rachel Forillere has left the San Francisco-based company for a role as the vice president of sales and business development at Temple Turmeric. Forillere joined Harmless Harvest in 2014 and was the company’s senior director of business development. Her previous work experience includes nine years as an executive with Whole Foods.

Jax Coco has hired former Nestlé Waters and Danone executive Greg Cattin to lead the Hong Kong-based coconut water company as CEO. The company announced the hire in a press release Friday, with Jax Coco co-founders Alex Ing and Max Gottschalk championing Cattin’s experience and skill set, saying his appointment “completes our top-tier management team as he brings experience and a prove track record at the highest level of our products, markets and disciplines. Additionally, his Asian expertise fits in with our strategic goal of further expansion in the region.”

Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company has hired Mike Ward to head up its sales division. Ward joined the company last month after a year at Caveman Foods as national accounts director. Ward’s experience in beverage dates back to 1999 at Jones Soda Co. He’s since worked a variety of sales positions at Jones, NERD Beverage, Avitae, and National Beverage Corporation.

Long Island Iced Tea Corp. announced the addition of two executives to its leadership team. Julian Davidson, who joined the company as a consultant in 2015, has been named executive chairman of the company’s board of directors, while Richard Allen, former CFO of Snapple, will be working in the same capacity at the ready-to-drink iced tea company.