Lain Hancock Named New Bai CEO

Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) this morning announced the appointment of Lain Hancock as the new CEO of Bai Brands, LLC, as the company moved quickly to replace outgoing founder Ben Weiss with an internal hire less than 24 hours after his departure was confirmed by BevNET.

Hancock succeeds Weiss in the top post at Bai after serving as executive vice president of human resources for DPS since February 2013. Joining the company in 2007, he previously served as senior vice president of supply chain procurement and senior vice president of human resources.

Hancock will work with Bai president Ken Kurtz to “drive alignment and coordination between Bai and the DPS selling organization” to deliver long-term profitable growth, according to a press release from the parent company.

“Lain knows how to inspire and lead winning teams and develop and execute business plans guided by data and insight,” said DPS President and CEO Larry Young in the release. “As part of our executive leadership team for the past four years, he understands how to best bring Dr Pepper Snapple’s full capabilities and resources to support Bai’s sales, marketing and brand building efforts.”

The change in management at Bai is the most significant development for the Princeton, N.J.-based company, which markets a variety of low-calorie, high-antioxidant beverages, since it was acquired by DPS for $1.7 billion last November. In April, DPS announced plans to shift Bai’s focus from the club channel, representing more than 40 percent of its sales, to the C-store channel, as well as lowering top-line guidance for Bai from over 80 percent to 40-50 percent sales growth.

Hancock was not made available for media requests today.

DPS did not cite a reason or provide any further details regarding Weiss’s departure from the brand he founded in 2009, but included a brief statement from the former CEO in the press release.

“This is the culmination of an amazing journey for me and my family. What we created at Bai made history,” said Weiss. “I could not be prouder of the Unbelievers I worked side-by-side with growing Bai to be a disruptor and leader in the beverage industry. This extraordinary brand has been embraced by millions of consumers, and I am confident in its future.”

Young added, ”Ben created one of the beverage industry’s most disruptive innovations in recent years. The team at Bai is well positioned to drive growth for the brand well into the future. We appreciate all that he has done to build an amazing brand and a phenomenal team, and we wish him well.”