People Moves: Martines Moves On From Kroger; Runa, Nutpods Add Sales Leaders

Mathis Martines Joins Branding Firm Concentric

Mathis Martines, who led efforts to expand Kroger’s grocery set with innovative and healthy products, has joined brand development firm Concentric as its VP of Brand and Strategy. Martines joined Concentric in June following his departure from Kroger, where he oversaw emerging brands, innovation and merchandising solutions for the company, according to his LinkedIn profile. Martines has been with Kroger since March 2013 and previously served as the grocery marketing coordinator for specialty grocery chain The Fresh Market.

“Mathis’s experience and retail perspective align perfectly with our core services,” said Concentric president Bob Shaw. “His work in brand innovation, especially in the area of [better-for-you] and natural products, will continue to build Concentric’s strength and will have immediate value to our clients.”

Runa Hires Fmr. Whole Foods Exec to Top Sales Post

Runa, a maker of guayusa-based teas and energy drinks, has named Alix Simmons as its national account sales manager. Simmons joins Runa from Whole Foods, where she had been the Global Category Manager for the retailer’s dairy category since October 2016. She was previously an Exclusive Brands Buyer for 15 dry grocery and frozen categories at Whole Foods and also held senior-level buyer roles at Macy’s and Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B.

Simmons comes to Runa two months after the company hired veteran marketing executive Alex Galindez as its CEO. In an email to BevNET Galindez, wrote that “as we continue to build the Runa brand, drive topline and manage cash burn, it is important that we bring on talent that is aligned with this strategy, knowledgeable in the retail environment, hungry for growth and, of course, passionate about [Runa].”

“Alix helped spearhead the most recent Whole Foods centralization plan and will be a key part of Runa as we look to drive greater distribution at both Whole Foods and Safeway,” Galindez continued.

Nutpods Taps Mark Nunn as VP of Sales

Plant-based creamer brand Nutpods has brought on natural foods sales veteran Mark Nunn as its VP of sales. Nunn has extensive experience in the natural foods business, with top sales roles at Food Should Taste Good, Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop, Immaculate Baking Company, and Oregon Chai. Nunn will be responsible for expanding sales of Nutpods beyond the company’s extensive direct-to-consumer business and into retailers across the U.S.

“Mark brings a diverse background selling better-for-you food products, as well as solid relationships with some of the country’s leading food retailers, and will help us turn Nutpods into a nationally recognized brand,” said Nutpods founder and CEO Madeline Haydon.

Launched in 2015, Nutpods is the youngest brand listed in the top 50 most frequently purchased grocery items on Amazon and saw 400 percent growth this year, according to the company. The brand also recently announced a new refrigerated 16 oz. size that will debut this September.

Maker of Wild Tonic Kombucha Names Steven Siegel as CEO

Good Omen Bottling, Inc., the maker of honey-fermented Wild Tonic Kombucha has appointed Steven L. Siegel as CEO. Siegel joined Good Omen in May and has over 25 years of executive and financial experience, including a variety of leadership roles in banking, ecommerce and international business.

“We are confident he will cultivate our team and surpass our greatest expectations when it comes to growing Wild Tonic into a national brand and bringing awareness to bee conservation efforts,” said Wild Tonic founder Holly Lyman.

In addition to his role with Good Omen, Siegel is a managing partner with Bow Tie CFO, a specialized consulting company that focuses on the financial industry, and a board member at Green Street Partners, LLC, an investment bank focused on global sustainable energy and environmental developments.

Ryan Lake Joins OMAC Beverage Advisors As Managing Director

OMAC Beverage Advisors, a specialized investment bank focused exclusively on the beverage industry, announced that Ryan Lake has joined the firm as a managing director. Lake had previously been a director and vice president with beverage investment and advisory firm First Beverage Group. At OMAC, he will be responsible for “expanding the firm’s relationships with beverage distributors, craft brewers, craft and independent spirits companies, and other beverage businesses,” according to a statement from the firm.

“We are thrilled to add Ryan to our team of trusted and talented advisers,” said Sean McLaren, managing partner, OMAC Beverage Advisors. “He has a deep experience and understanding of the beverage industry, and the counsel and insight he brings to our clients is second to none.”

Prior to his work at First Beverage, Lake spent nine years at GE Capital where he specialized in structured finance transactions for beverage companies, chain restaurants and hotels.