People Moves: Q Mixers Taps Nestlé Talent

Q Mixers Taps Nestlé Talent

New York-based Q Mixers has hired former Nestlé Waters VP of U.S. grocery Mike Atkins to serve as EVP of retail, the company announced last week.

Atkins began his career in 1990 with The Perrier Group, later transitioning to the Nestlé Waters system and holding various management positions before taking the VP role in 2014.

In an email to BevNET, Q Mixers founder and CEO Jordan Silbert said the tenfold growth Nestlé Waters experienced during Atkins’ tenure with the company mirrors the “kind of explosive growth” the premium carbonated mixer category is currently experiencing. Silbert noted that recent IRI data showed the category up 58 percent over 52 weeks, and up 64 percent over 24 weeks.

“We’re actually taking dollars away from mainstream mixer brands as that category continues to decline,” Silbert told BevNET. “Mike’s experience will help us accelerate growth even more rapidly.”

Silbert also noted Atkins is one of many executives recently recruited by Q Mixers from leading water, spirits, and beer companies.

“[Atkins will start] with elevating our key retailer partnerships, optimizing our channel strategies, and further developing the extraordinary team we already have in place,” Silbert said. “Mike fits right in with our current roster of all-stars who have seen the potential and have chosen to join us from brands like Campari, William Grant, Boston Beer, Lotus Foods, Fairway Market, VOSS Water, and Fiji Water.”

Napa Hills Taps PepsiCo Sales Exec as VP of Sales

Former PepsiCo general manager Walter Cybulski has joined antioxidant water brand Napa Hills as VP of Sales, the company announced this week. The Chicago-based brand uses a proprietary technology to make wine-inspired functional drinks.

Speaking to BevNET, Napa Hills managing partner Steve Jarvis said Cybulski recently joined Napa Hills after 25 years with PepsiCo to fill the needed sales leadership position.

“[Founder and CEO Ellona Jarvis] is the product developer and inventor Napa Hills and the passionate brand advocate for what we’re doing, while my background is in marketing,” Jarvis told BevNET. “We’ve been looking for someone with the right credential and who shares our values to fill a senior position in sales and distribution, so we were delighted when we were introduced to Walter. He just understands the retail landscape, he understands how to create win-win situations for the brand and the retailers, and really speaks their language.”

Jarvis said Cybulski has developed stronger relationships with retailers on the West Coast, which Napa Hills is currently targeting as a key growth market for the brand.

“We’re excited to have him on board,” Jarvis said. “His role is VP of sales, but he’s involved with us in all kinds of meetings and discussions, beyond just the sales piece.”

Nicolas Proszenuck Joins Distill Ventures

Diageo-backed spirits accelerator Distill Ventures announced this week the hiring of Nicolas Proszenuck as investment director. Based in New York, Porszenuck will lead new investments and work with the firm’s current portfolio of spirits and non-alcoholic beverage brands.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nicolas to the growing Distill Ventures team here in the U.S.” said founder and managing director Gonzalo De La Pezuela in a press release. “As we continue to bring new entrepreneurs into the [Distill Ventures] portfolio and nurture existing brands, Nicolas will play a vital role in ensuring we create the best possible partnerships and outcomes for our brands.”

Porszenuck was previously a principal at investment bank Centerview Partners.

Coke Names New Chief People Officer

Lisa Chang has been named The Coca-Cola Company’s new chief people officer in charge of global human resources, effective March 1.

According to a press release, Chang comes to the company from her prior role as senior vice president and chief human resources officer for AMB Group LLC, the investment management and shared services arm of The Blank Family of Businesses which owns the Atlanta Falcons NFL team.

Chang will be based in Coke’s Atlanta headquarters. She is replacing Jennifer Mann, who was promoted recently to the role of president of global ventures.