VEB’s Larsen to Run ZICO

A recent announcement from new Coke VEB President Scott Uzzell has answered the succession question for portfolio brand ZICO.

Tom Larsen, who has been the general manager of VEB’s Illy RTD coffee business, will take over as President and GM of ZICO. Larsen, a long-time Coke veteran, will be moving from Atlanta to run ZICO from its El Segundo, Calif. base.

“Our day one priority is ZICO brand retail activation,” Larsen told BevNET. The brand is coming off a strong promotional schedule during the Winter Olympics, where it held a sweepstakes to meet U.S. Alpine Ski star Julia Mancuso, part of “Team ZICO.”

The brand performs well “when effectively merchandised in support of big events,” Larsen said, adding that he is hoping to continue to push the brand forward in the coming quarter.

Tom Larsen, ZICO

Larsen, who has worked for several Coke divisions, has been in charge of the 5 year-old joint venture between Italian coffee titan Illy Caffe and VEB since its launch; the brand has moved into wider circulation on the East Coast via a network of DSD providers including Big Geyser in New York; on the West Coast it has benefitted from VEB’s relationship with incubation house L.A. Libations, which helped get the brand wider distribution in chains like Target, eventually winning the brand a spot on Coke trucks.

With founder Mark Rampolla now in an advisory role for ZICO and Uzzell succeeding Deryck van Rensburg as the President of VEB, the next move will be for the brand to continue to move into the Coke system. VEB has recently begun consolidating its combined sales force under Chuck Muth.