People Moves: Iris Nova Names Senior Director of Special Projects

Tio Gazpacho Founder Allan Joins Iris Nova

Austin Allan has been named Senior Director of Special Projects for Iris Nova, the parent company of direct-to-consumer beverage platform Dirty Lemon.

“I’m really excited to join Iris Nova,” said Allan in a phone call. “It’s a company that I’ve admired for a long time. I know Zak [Normandin, CEO] and Adam [Louras, COO] pretty well.”

Allan was brought on to focus on supply chain for Iris Nova. In this operations-focused role, Allan stated that he will oversee “everything from the purchase of lemons all the way through the time the product reaches the customer’s front door.”

Allan is the founder and former CEO of drinkable soup brand Tio Gazpacho, which was acquired by Novamex in December. He also served as director of marketing and e-commerce for the company from 2017 to 2018.

Allan said a main focus of the role is to “continue to build on what Iris Nova has built to date with an emphasis on the customer experience.” The company utilizes a direct-to-consumer conversational commerce (cCommerce) model.

“I’ve always been very impressed by what the team has built out, with the text-to-order SMS platform that they’ve built out, in order to ensure that customers can text an order in with the ultimate goal of getting to them by the next business day,” he said.

In December, Coca-Cola took a minority stake in Iris Nova, leading a $15 million investment round. This year, Dirty Lemon will be releasing one SKU every month and will also be launching two new brands: Tres Limón, a non-alcoholic aperitif, in Q1 and a second in Q3 which has yet to be announced.

Paul Lukanowski Named COO of BodyArmor

BodyArmor announced in January the appointment of former Swire Coca-Cola COO Paul Lukanowski as Chief Operating Officer, effective March 4. In his new role, Lukanowski will be responsible for “overseeing bottler relations, national accounts, commercial operations and international expansion at BodyArmor,” according to a press release.

“I have watched the explosive growth of BodyArmor as a competitor for many years and I was thrilled with the minority investment of The Coca-Cola Company earlier this year,” said Lukanowski in the release. “I could not be more excited for the opportunity to join Mike, Brent and the senior leadership team at BodyArmor as we continue to revolutionize the sports drink category.”

Lukanowski has worked for Swire Coca-Cola for 22 years, and held several leadership positions with the company.

Lukanowski will report to Brett Hastie, who was announced as incoming BodyArmor president in December and will also be joining the company on March 4.

Swire Coca-Cola Executive/senior Leadership Transitions

Coke bottler and distributor Swire Coca-Cola has announced several leadership changes as part of its “long-term leadership succession plan.”

After Lukanowski’s move to BodyArmor, Rob Gehring, Swire Coca-Cola’s senior vice president and general manager, will take over as COO, with VP of sales operations Rusty Frain set to transition into Gehring’s former role. Karen Cox, division vice president for Southern Arizona, will then fill Frain’s former position. All transitions will occur on March 4.

Elsewhere, chief customer officer Rocky Christeson will retire on March 29. Steve Quercia, group vice president of channel sales, will take over his position on April 1.

“One of the hallmarks of all Swire companies is the creation of a leadership succession plan,” said Jack Pelo, Swire Coca-Cola’s president and CEO, in a press release. “A great deal of thought has been put into the implementation of this plan to ensure we have the right leaders, in the right place, at the right time. I want to ensure new leaders also have time working with and learning from veteran executives.”

According to the release, more leadership changes will be announced in the coming months.

Edge Beverage Consulting Adds Managing Partner

Edge Beverage Consulting announced that James Williams joined the company as managing partner on Dec. 31.

In his new role, Williams will manage the retail growth of Edge Beverage’s client base, as well as developing Edge’s Service portfolio.

“I am very excited about joining the Edge Beverage Consulting team. I’ve always loved working in the beverage industry and I’ve strived to do my best. I’m looking forward to doing great work for all of our clients and there [sic] brands,” said Williams in a press release.

Williams previously served as Director of Solon Marketing, Inc. and held several leadership roles at the company prior to that. He has also served as Senior Vice President of Sales for Sonoma Cider and National Sales Manager for Manneken-Brussels Imports.

David Kroll Named CEO of Coco5

Chicago coconut water-based beverage startup Coco5 has named David Kroll as its new CEO the company announced earlier this month.

Kroll previously served as chief marketing officer for MillerCoors, which he left in July. Prior to that, he served as Vice President for the brewer.

“I always knew I wanted to work for a smaller company some day,” Kroll said in an interview with Chicago Business. Kroll noted that Coco5 “is at an absolute inflection point,” and that he will be focused on further developing the brand and recruiting talent.

Coco5, marketed as a low-sugar sports drink, is currently sold in the Midwest and has expanded to Canada.

Corwin Beverage Appoints Marketing Director

Corwin Beverage Company, a regional food and beverage distributor, named Anna Abatzoglou as Marketing Director on Jan. 14.

In her new role, Abatzoglou will support Corwin’s soda and other new product lines including beer, wine and Revolt organic coffee.

“Anna brings the diverse marketing expertise to support the brands we distribute in a very competitive marketplace,” said Keith Richards, CEO of Corwin Beverage Company, in a press release. “The changing landscape of product marketing and distribution causes Corwin to provide a broad range of support to assure that our growing range of brands are presented well.”

Abatzoglou previously served as Director of Marketing for Rogue Ales, Marketing Director for Alliance for Coffee Excellence and Brand Manager for Clemens Food Group.