HINT Loses Key Sales Executive

Tom Keeney, a veteran beverage sales manager who has served as the VP of Sales for Hint since 2008, abruptly left the company Tuesday.

Largely credited with helping guide the brand’s DSD network through a SKU rationalization that resulted in streamlined offerings and increased revenues, Keeney said he remained a shareholder in the company and that he was optimistic about its chances for continued growth. Keeney brought the essence water brand an experienced hand — one that had worked through the fast expansion of vitaminwater, and before that, SoBe.

“They’ve been really great partners to work with over the years,” Keeney told BevNET. “I love the brand and I love the team, but what’s best for the team is for me to not be part of it anymore.”

Hint CEO Kara Goldin said that the company was already looking for a Head of Sales, but could not offer details concerning Keeney’s resignation.

“Tom’s a nice guy and I wish him the best,” Goldin said.

The departure came at a time when Hint is entering new markets and withdrawing from others. A high-visibility turn through the cooler set at Starbucks has begun winding down, while the company recently began marketing a carbonated line extension, Hint Fizz, as a limited release in Fresh Market.

The departure of Keeney means that two of Hint’s most heralded former vitaminwater hires have departed in the past few months — field marketing chief Sandy Blumberg left for Neuro in April.