American Beverage Association Announces Election Of Members To Its Board Of Directors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Beverage Association (ABA) today announced the election of 10 members to its Board of Directors.

The three members elected for a first term are: Sally Hargis, vice president, corporate strategy, Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company; John Kalil, vice president, Kalil Bottling Company; and Gary Smith, president and CEO, Big Red, Inc.

Those elected to serve for a second term are: Brian Charneski, president, L & E Bottling Company, Inc.; Stefan Kozak, CEO, Red Bull North America, Inc.; Larry Lordi, president, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England; and Cliff Ritchie, president and CEO, Carolina Beverage Corp.

In addition, three current Board members, who are serving based on an appointment by the Chair, were elected by the ABA Membership. These members are: Zein Abdalla, president, PepsiCo, Inc.; Tim Brown, chairman, president and CEO, Nestlé Waters North America, Inc.; and Jack Pelo, president and CEO, Swire Coca-Cola, USA.

“We are pleased to welcome new industry leaders to ABA’s Board of Directors and retain additional leadership to continue their important service,” said Claude Nielsen, chair of ABA’s Board of Directors and president and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc.  “Together with the valuable insight and experience of these members, the Board will continue its work to help our industry serve its customers, consumers and communities by advancing meaningful solutions to complex societal challenges.”

“The ABA Board of Directors provides critical guidance and decision-making which are vital to the success of our association and our industry,” said Susan K. Neely, ABA president and chief executive officer.  “We are fortunate to have a dedicated and talented group of industry leaders at the helm of our organization, and we anticipate that the diverse experience our new board members bring will add significant value.”

Members of ABA’s Board of Directors serve a four-year term and participate in semi-annual meetings that help shape association policy and initiatives.  With the addition of these members, there are now 29 members on ABA’s Board of Directors.


Zein Abdalla

Mr.Abdalla joined PepsiCo in 1995 and currently serves as president, where he oversees all of the company’s global category groups, global operations, global marketing services and corporate strategy. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the TJX, Inc., and has previously served on the Boards of both the Union of European Beverages Associations (UNESDA) and FoodDrinkEurope (formerly CIAA).

Tim Brown
Nestlé Waters North America

Mr. Brown is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA), where he oversees the largest bottled water company in North America. He has been with the company for more than two decades, and most recently served as president and chief executive officer of Nestlé Canada.

Brian Charneski
L&E Bottling Company, Inc.

Charneski is president, L & E Bottling Company, Inc., in Olympia, Wash., and chairman of Pepsi Northwest Beverages, LLC. He is also a director and past chair of the Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Association.

Sally Hargis
Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company

As vice president of corporate strategy for Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company in Springfield, Mo., Hargis oversees special projects and serves as the liaison between production/manufacturing and the Board of Directors. Hargis is highly involved in the Springfield community and currently serves a number of organizations including the Public Policy Task Force for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield.

John Kalil
Kalil Bottling Co.

Kalil is a third generation member of the family-owned Kalil Bottling Co. in Tucson, Ariz. where he currently serves as vice president. In addition, Kalil is the president of the Arizona Beverage Association and is one of the founding members of both Phoenix Clean and Beautiful and Arizona Clean and Beautiful.

Stefan Kozak
Red Bull North America, Inc.

Kozak is CEO of Red Bull North America, Inc., in Santa Monica, Calif. He first joined Red Bull Brazil as a general manager in 2004 and has since led operations in Latin America, Canada and North America.

Larry Lordi
Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England

Lordi has spent more than 35 years in the Coca-Cola system and currently serves as the president of Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England. During his tenure, Lordi has served on the Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Marketing Advisory Group and Executive Steering Committee for national customers.

John E. “Jack” Pelo
Swire Coca-Cola, USA

Mr. Pelo is president and chief executive officer of Swire Coca-Cola, USA, the third largest independent Coca-Cola Bottling Company in the United States. He currently serves on the Boards of the Coca-Cola Bottler’s Association, Coca-Cola Scholar’s Foundation, Dr Pepper Bottler’s Association, Key Technology, Inc. and Western Container Corporation.

Cliff Ritchie
Carolina Beverage Corp.

Ritchie is president and chief executive officer of Carolina Beverage Corp., the parent company for Cheerwine, based in Salisbury, N.C. Ritchie has spent more than 30 years in the beverage industry and is the descendent of the founder of Cheerwine, which was established more than 90 years ago. In addition to his role at Carolina Beverage Corp, Ritchie is also the president of the North Carolina Beverage Association.

Gary Smith
Big Red, Inc.

Smith serves as the chief executive officer of Big Red Inc. in Austin, Texas. He began his career with PepsiCo in Dallas, Texas, where he lead the West Florida Bottling Operations for Pepsi Bottling Group for over 15 years. Also prior to his tenure at Big Red, Smith was the chief operating officer and executive vice president of sales and distribution for Red Bull North America Inc.

The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States. For more information on ABA, please visit the association’s Web site at or call the ABA communications team at (202) 463-6770.