Lagunitas CEO Maria Stipp Steps Down; Dennis Peek Named Replacement

After five years at the helm of Heineken N.V.-owned, Petaluma, California-based Lagunitas Brewing Company, CEO Maria Stipp is exiting the company, according to a press release.

Effective February 21, Dennis Peek, who most recently served as managing director of Heineken Canada, will take over the CEO role.

“Maria has decided to pursue a different challenge in her career,” Marc Busain, president of Heineken Americas, said in the release. “I would like to thank Maria for her leadership over the past five years.”

Stipp joined Lagunitas in June 2015, and led the craft brewery through its integration with Heineken, which purchased 50% of the company in September 2015 and bought out the remaining stake in May 2017.

In 2018, Lagunitas crossed the 1 million barrel threshold, according to data from trade group the Brewers Association. The company said Lagunitas’ total shipments have grown 74% globally under Stipp’s guidance.

As for Peek, he has held numerous leadership roles during his decade-plus career at Heineken, most recently serving as general manager of the Dutch brewer’s Canadian business for more than three years.

“I am incredibly excited to continue the journey for Lagunitas’ success and growth over the next few years,” Peek said in the release. “Lagunitas is a special company and I feel extremely energized to be able to work with amazing people and fantastic products.”

Peek was unavailable for further comment.

Peek takes over Lagunitas, which started 2020 rough, cutting less than 5% of its workforce as part of a restructuring plan.

“In order to fortify our continued global success and continue to compete in the ever changing and challenging U.S. marketplace, we are announcing an evolution to our commercial strategy,” Stipp said at the time. “This includes a restructure of our organization, aimed at better aligning our sales and marketing departments, and allowing us to extend our brand experiences domestically and abroad.

January’s job cuts came 16 months after the company slashed 12% of its workforce, in a move that impacted at least 100 employees.

Off-premise dollar sales of Lagunitas products in 2019 increased 0.7%, to nearly $184.9 million, according to market research firm IRI. Lagunitas IPA remained the top-selling IPA in IRI tracked multi-outlet and convenience retailers, increasing dollar sales 3.8%, to more than $86 million last year.

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