People Moves: David Meniane Leaves L.A. Libations

David Meniane Leaves L.A. Libations, Joins US Auto Parts

L.A. Libations EVP David Meniane has left the beverage industry, joining ecommerce company U.S. Auto Parts as CFO. Meniane joined brand incubator L.A. Libations in 2016, having previously served as CEO of Victoria’s Kitchen, a specialty beverage company he founded in 2011.

“It’s been a true pleasure to be part of such an amazing team,” Meniane told BevNET in a statement, noting that leaving the beverage industry was “bittersweet.”

“I look forward to seeing what [L.A. Libations CEO Danny Stepper] and team accomplish over the next 10 years,” he added.

In a press release, U.S. Auto Parts CEO said Meniane’s “successful track record in growing consumer brands” and his “expertise in finance accounting” were assets to the publicly traded online car parts dealer.

BodyArmor Names VP of Commercialization and Revenue Growth

BodyArmor announced last month beverage industry veteran Andrew Wilkinson will join the company as VP of commercialization and revenue growth, reporting to COO Paul Lukanowski. Wilkinson most recently served as the chief strategy officer for North America at Monster Energy and has previously held positions at The Coca-Cola Company.

“BodyArmor is one of the hottest brands in beverages, with tremendous potential to thrive within the Coca-Cola bottling system,” Wilkinson said in a press release. “I am extremely excited to join the dynamic team at BodyArmor and make beverage history as we continue to evolve the sports drink category.”

Soylent Hires New VP of Product Development and Innovation

Meal replacement brand Soylent has hired Julie Daoust as VP of product development and innovation. Daoust previously served as senior director of research and innovation at Danone-owned protein drink brand Vega.

Daoust holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of British Columbia in Canada and has focused on marine organisms. In 2012 she joined Canadian supplement maker La Clef Des Champs as a research scientist before joining Vega in 2013.

“I’ve been watching Soylent from the sidelines since its crowdfunding debut, and am honored to join such a strong team that’s committed to innovation and charged with entrepreneurial spirit,” Daoust said in a press release. “All of the elements are in place for us to bring a new wave of innovative, sustainable products to consumers. I truly believe that Soylent is the perfect platform for new food technologies to come to market and make real progress in bringing an end to food voids.”

Misfit Foods Co-Founder Steps Down

Misfit Foods co-founder Ann Yang has resigned from the startup food and beverage brand, citing mental health struggles and calling for other entrepreneurs to take their health and mental wellbeing seriously in a post on Medium.

“The unique stress of being an entrepreneur hit its breaking point,” Yang wrote. “On a consultation call, a therapist asked me if I had considered whether or not I was depressed. As someone who has built a reputation around being unusually charismatic, I had not. I’ve since learned that entrepreneurs are 30% more likely than the average person to experience depression.”

Last year, Yang and her co-founder Phil Wong were named as part of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and the brand was accepted into the Chobani Food Incubator.

The move also comes as the company enters a transitional phase — discontinuing its juice line in order to focus on food products.

“This has not been easy to write,” Yang wrote. “It’s deeply personal. But it’s always been my style to wear my heart on my sleeve. I believe that leading with vulnerability is a powerful way to create a more empathetic world. I hope that sharing my experience is a small but impactful contribution in the fight to level the playing field for all types of founders with diverse backgrounds. I hope this opens more conversations around mental health and entrepreneurship. I hope more people ask for help.”