People Moves: Celsius Names Full Time CFO

Celsius Welcomes New CFO

Fitness drink brand CELSIUS has named Edwin F. Negron-Carballo as the company’s new chief financial officer.

Negron-Carballo takes the reins from CELSIUS CEO John Fieldly, who had also served as CFO for the past six years.

“Edwin’s experience at large, well-run, CPG companies will be invaluable as Celsius continues its rapid, industry leading growth,” said Fieldly in a press release. “He is well versed in playing crucial roles in successful but changing corporate environments.”

In an email to BevNET, Negron-Carballo said he was attracted to the role at CELSIUS because of its position as a “high growth, fast paced company with international operations.” He has previously served in a variety of senior financial management roles, including stints at Sodexo, S.A., Energizer Battery, and Frito-Lay.

Negron-Carballo specifically cited his familiarity with Six Sigma, a set of techniques used to optimize the processing of any kind of operation, as an asset.

“Given that the CELSIUS portfolio is growing more than +50 percent in retail dollars across multiple channels of trade, these experiences directly correlate to the preparations for growth – as it relates to process improvements automation – leveraging internal team resources,” he wrote. “The same is true from an international standpoint. The same rules of implementing systems and improving processes in preparation for scaling apply.”

CELSIUS recently reported a 9 percent drop in sales during its Q2 2018 earnings report, as the company faced significant headwinds thanks to inventory and distribution challenges in international markets, particularly Europe and Asia. Negron-Carballo said his experience with supply chain logistics would enhance the company’s response to the issues faced in the past quarter.

In the short term, Negron-Carballo noted CELSIUS will continue to expand internationally: The company will introduce an expanded product portfolio in Finland and Norway, and the product has entered key retailers in over 18 provinces in China. He also noted the company will continue to seed the CELSIUS Heat line across all channels.

“To date, [Heat] has been widely accepted by our customer base and has been a successful offering providing an additional revenue stream for Celsius,” he wrote. “Our aim is to be in more channels, more retailers and offer more products and SKUs for each line in the coming year, which will further accelerate the growth of our company revenue and investor interest.”

Hal Kravitz Leads New Advisory Team at Hoist

At the beginning of August, Cincinnati-based hydration drink maker hoist announced it has formed a new advisory board led by former AQUAhydrate CEO Hal Kravitz.

Kravitz, who previously spent three decades at The Coca-Cola Company, left the alkaline water brand in May. The same month, he joined Glendale, Calif.-based Certified Management Group (CMG) as chairman of the board of directors. He is also a member of the board of directors at fitness drink Celsius and an equity partner in hoist.

Founded in 2009, hoist is marketed as a low calorie, “perfectly isotonic” hydration alternative to sports drinks and enhanced waters. The brand is available in four flavors — Dragonfruit, Strawberry Lemonade, Watermelon, and Orange — and is sold in over 10,000 retailers nationwide.

“Hal’s experience in the beverage industry is unrivaled, and we’re thrilled to bring him on board at hoist,” said VP Ben Schmidt in a press release announcing the move. “There’s never been a better time to get Hal involved. His impressive resume will help us significantly as we continue to grow and expand our business.”

One of Kravtiz’s first tasks will be to develop a strategic approach for hoist’s first outside capital raise. He will also help identify additional advisory board members. Albert (Trey) Heekin, partner at Frost Brown Todd, will serve as an advisory board member and as legal counsel for hoist.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join their team,” Kravitz said in a press release. “I’m passionate about growing beverage brands, and hoist is a great product with exponential growth opportunity.”

According to the company, additional advisory board members will be named sometime later this year.

Yumi Clevenger-Lee Named VP and CMO at NWNA

Nestle Waters North America (NWNA) has appointed Yumi Clevenger-Lee as the company’s new vice president and chief marketing officer, effective August 1.

She succeeds former executive VP CMO Antonio Sciuto, who left the role “to consider opportunities both within and outside of Nestlé,” according to a press release.

“This is an exciting time for the bottled water industry as consumer demand for healthy products is stronger than ever,” said Clevenger-Lee in the release. “I’m looking forward to driving the growth of NWNA’s strong legacy brands that consumers know and love, as well as identifying untapped areas of innovation to bring exciting new products to our portfolio.”

Clevenger-Lee most recently served as marketing director, Latin America region, for Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW), a joint venture between General Mills and Nestlé to manufacture and market cereal in select international markets. She had led the Switzerland-based CPW global innovation team since 2013, where she helped create marketing campaigns to support new product launches.

“I am confident that her passion for consumers and proven track record of putting them at the heart of new product and campaign development will help us to further our leadership position in the bottled water industry,” said Fernando Mercé, president and CEO of Nestlé Waters North America.

Kohana Appoints New COO/CFO

Just over a year after shaking up its sale team, Texas-based Kohana Coffee has brought in Andrew Bergad as the company’s new chief operating officer and chief financial officer at the beginning of July.

Bergad brings a variety of food and beverage industry experience, having been a former vice president of finance at spirits conglomerate Diageo. He most recently served as CFO for Genesis Today, which produces a variety of products made with “superfoods.”

In a press release announcing Bergad’s appointment, the company praised his ability to help companies “reduce costs, increase profits and provide successful strategic solutions.”

“Andy’s multifaceted career experience will allow him to make an immediate contribution to Kohana,” said Kohana president and CEO Victoria Lynden in a release. “His prior industry experience at the COO/CFO level is not only a benefit to help strengthen our internal operations and financial systems, but his experience and perspective will also play an integral role in assisting our team as we review growth opportunities.”