High-Profile Hires, Part 2: KeVita Fills Holes with New VP of Marketing and SVP of Sales

In the fast-paced, musical chairs-like comings and goings of the beverage industry, the departure of one leader makes way for the arrival of the next. Such is the case with KeVita, who recently announced the addition of two new members to its executive team, both of whom will be at the company’s booth at the 2015 Natural Products Expo West later this week.

unnamed-2William Thein joins the sparkling probiotic drinks company as Vice President of Marketing, replacing  the recently departed Bill Lange who left KeVita in January to become VP of Sales and Marketing at Santa Monica-based cold-pressed juice chain Pressed Juicery. Previously, Thein spent eight years at Odwalla, working in a marketing capacity for the premium juice brand before and after its acquisition by the Coca-Cola Co. Thein also spent four years as Chief Marketing Officer of Evolution Fresh before becoming an independent consultant for a array of beverage brands.

In a company press release, Thein announced his intentions to bring a new marketing strategy to KeVita focusing on four P’s: Purpose, People, Product, and Programs.

“We’re centering in on the motivation behind KeVita and how we can best provide tasty, refreshing and effective ways for consumers to enhance their overall health and vitality from the inside out,” he said.

unnamed-3KeVita also added Bob Nakasone, a 17-year veteran of PepsiCo, as its Senior Vice President of Sales.Nakasone worked closely with KeVita in his position as Senior Director of Business Development at PepsiCo’s Naked Emerging Brands (NEB) division, which began a trial distribution partnership with the probiotic beverage company in early 2014. Nakasone will attempt to expand the brand’s growth outside of incubation channels, per a company statement.

unnamed-4Elsewhere, former Coca-Cola Co. executive Mary-Ann Somers joins The Hershey Company later this month as VP and General Manager of its U.S. Chocolate division. Somers leaves her post as SVP and General Manager of Coke’s water, tea, and coffee categories, where she led Dasani past PepsiCo-owned Aquafina to become the country’s’ top-selling bottled water brand. Somers also helped advance Coke’s stake in the tea category with its Gold Peak brand passing $1 billion in sales last year.

About three hours northeast of Hershey headquarters, cold-pressed juice company Red Jacket Orchards has hired Gary Prusher as Director of Corporate Sales and Distribution. Prusher will bring 26 years of experience in the industry to the upstate New York Orchard, including a role as a Regional Sales Manager for New York distributor Big Geyser.