MillerCoors today announced that chief public affairs and communications officer Pete Marino will be taking over as the president of Tenth and Blake, the company’s craft and import division, on September 1.
Scott Whitley, who had led the division since October 2014, will retire on September 30, according to CEO Gavin Hattersley.
“Scott is one of the sharpest, most well-rounded and nicest guys in the beer business, and he’s always answered the call for us in whatever the company asked him to do and wherever that job was located,” Hattersley wrote in a memo sent to MillerCoors distributors and senior executives.
When he was named president of Tenth and Blake in 2014, Whitley supplanted division CEO Tom Cardella, who now serves as a member of North American Breweries board of directors.
Whitley was instrumental in helping MillerCoors bolster its position in the craft beer sector via the acquisitions of Saint Archer Brewing Company, Hop Valley Brewing Company, Revolver Brewing and Terrapin Beer Company.
Prior to leading Tenth and Blake, Whitley served as the president of Coors Distributing Company. He also had stints as the vice president of integration planning at MillerCoors, vice president of global strategy at Molson Coors and chief market development officer at Molson Coors Canada.
“Pete has consistently brought sharp insight and a commercial point-of-view to his current role, and I know he will also bring incredible energy and great leadership to Tenth and Blake as we look to grow our terrific regional craft brands,” Hattersley wrote in the note.Moving forward, Marino will serve in a split role as Tenth and Blake president while continuing to serve as MillerCoors’ chief communications officer.
In a conversation with Brewbound, Marino said he was excited about the opportunity to lead Tenth and Blake, despite the added challenge of continuing to oversee more than 40 employees working within MillerCoors’ communications, government and community affairs division.
“Certainly in the short term, my focus will be on understanding the lay of the land at Tenth and Blake,” he said, noting that the communications department had been “restructured” to accommodate for Marino’s new role.
Julie Kubasa, who currently serves as the director of internal communications, has been promoted to senior director of communications, Marino said.
Meanwhile, within Tenth and Blake, Paul Verdu has been named to the newly created position of vice president of sales and marketing. Verdu, whose resume includes senior positions with SABMiller and Constellation Brands, had been serving as the interim president of MillerCoors subsidiary Saint Archer Brewing, following the February departure of company co-founder Josh Landan.
Marino first began working with Miller Brewing Company in the early 1990s, he said, when he was working for the company’s public relations firm. In 1998, he was hired by Miller Brewing Company as a marketing and communications manager, a position he would leave in 2000 to attend the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
After a brief stint with the Boston Consulting Group, Marino founded Dig Communications in 2004 and secured Miller Brewing as his first client. After growing Dig to more than 60 employees, he sold the business to OLSON, a marketing and advertising agency based in Minneapolis, Minn., in 2010. He then rejoined MillerCoors as the vice president of communications in 2012.