One week after Ben Weiss, the founder and CEO of bai, said at BevNET Live in New York that he expects his company’s sales to increase fivefold this year, he followed his words with an executive shift, announcing Tuesday that Ken Kurtz has been promoted to company president.
“Ken is simply the best in the business, and his sales and marketing strategies have given us unparalleled traction in an extraordinarily competitive industry,” Weiss said in a release. “Ken has unmatched organizational development experience and has led the company into this current period of hyper-growth.”
Kurtz, who joined bai’s executive team in 2011, will lead the company’s sales. He has more than 20 years of experience with brands such as Boston Beer Company, E&J Gallo and FIJI Water, and his relationships with distributors and industry stakeholders could help the company, according to the release.
“My focus since joining the company has been entirely on helping people all over the country to experience the healthy alternative that is bai,” Kurtz said in the release. “This new role provides an opportunity to shift these efforts into a higher gear as we move toward national distribution, and I am both honored and excited about taking up the task and putting Bai into the hands of more people everywhere.”
Kurtz’s ascension arrives as the company continues to grow since its switch to an aseptic proprietary bottle more than one year ago. At Expo West in March, Weiss said that the company had exceeded January and February sales expectations by 17 percent and projects more than $25 million in sales for 2013.
At BevNET Live, Weiss credited Kurtz with helping the company achieve “the look of success” when it comes to retail placement. That corresponds to the expectations of a series of well-known investors who have backed the company as well as its regional distribution arrangements within the Dr Pepper Snapple Group system. Of late, the company has been expanding its footprint and adding to its infrastructure.