People Moves: Uinta Brewing Hires New CEO; Deschutes Names New Director of Brewery Ops

Uinta Names Beverage Industry Vet As Next CEO

Nearly two months after former CEO Steve Mills departed for Maine Beer Company, Uinta Brewing has named beverage industry veteran John Lennon as its next CEO.

Lennon, who had been serving as the interim CEO since March 10, will officially assume the post on May 1. He’s also been a member of the Salt Lake City-based craft brewery’s board of directors since 2015

“John is a strong executive leader with globally recognized expertise,” Uinta chief marketing officer Jeremy Ragonese said via a press release. “We’ve seen his success in growing some of the world’s most recognized breweries and developing strong teams. We feel he is the perfect cultural and business fit for Uinta.”

Speaking with Brewbound, Lennon said he plans to push behind the company’s flagship offerings, namely the Hop Nosh IPA family of products and Lime Pilsner. And, in the coming weeks, his primary focus will be on the launch of a mango-flavored line extension of the Lime Pilsner brand.

After several notable departures in the past year, Lennon said Uinta is “not retrenching.” Rather, it is in an active “expansion mode.” He added the company is looking to fill several open area sales manager positions in order to support its wholesalers.

“The distributors are all looking for and asking for help in their markets,” he said. “So where it makes sense for us to do so, we’re doing that.

“We plan to be a competitor in this business going forward,” he comintuned.

Lennon will maintain his seat on Uinta’s seven-member board of directors, which also includes founder Will Hamill and former vice president of sales Steve Kuftinec.

Prior to joining the Utah brewery, Lennon was the interim CEO for C Mondavi & Family Winery in St. Helena, California, from 2016 to 2017. Lennon previously served president and CEO of several beer companies, including Pabst Brewing (2009-2010), Pyramid Breweries (2004-2006) and Beck’s North America (2000-2004). He was also vice president and general manager of Guinness (1997-2001) and president of import and International Beverage Holdings (2006-2009), which makes and sells single-malt Scotch and other spirits.

Deschutes Hires Ex-New Belgium Engineer to Lead Brewery Operations

Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery has hired former New Belgium senior plant engineer Mark Fischer as its new director of brewery operations, effective April 30.

“Mark brings over 30 years of operations management experience, including proven success as a builder and creative thinker,” Deschutes president and CEO Michael LaLonde said via a press release. “Not only did he oversee operations for New Belgium’s Fort Collins brewery, he contributed to projects related to sustainability and company culture that fit right in with Deschutes’ values. With future plans that include growing capacity with our can line, adding more sustainability practices in our facilities and an East Coast expansion, he’ll be a great addition.”

Fischer, who spent more than 15 years with New Belgium, supplants Karl Ockert, who had been with the Bend-based craft brewery since August 2015 and left to become an industry consultant.

In the press release announcing the hire, Deschutes noted that Fischer “was instrumental in the successful design, construction and startup of New Belgium’s brewery in Asheville, NC.”

Deschutes, ranked by the Brewers Association as the tenth largest craft brewery, intends to open a second production brewery in Roanoke, Virginia, in 2021.

As for New Belgium, director of communications Bryan Simpson told Brewbound that the Fort Collins beer company will not backfill Fischer’s position.

NAB to Increase Sales Force

North American Breweries (NAB) announced last month that it will add 35 members to its restructured sales team. The New York-headquartered company said the new sales structure will allow it to better “capitalize on key distribution and sales opportunities, create a national accounts structure, and strengthen teams in high potential markets” while also providing additional support to its wholesalers.

“We have great opportunities to sell more beer and FMBs by realigning our people and investments behind our biggest bets,” Josh Halpern, NAB chief sales officer, said via a press release.

NAB said it is currently recruiting talent and will phase in the new hires in the coming months.

A-B Expands North American Executive Leadership Team

Earlier this month, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced four additions to its North American executive leadership team.

“After 100 days in my new role as CEO and with a clear set of objectives for our 10-year commercial strategy, I am adding new senior leaders to our management committee, to ensure we are delivering on those objectives and are focused on growing our company over the long term,” Michel Doukeris, A-B president and CEO of the North America zone, said via a press release.

Those appointments include:

  • Elito Siqueira as vice president of logistics
  • Nick Carton as vice president of commercial data and analytics transformation
  • Marina Hahn as new business co-founder
  • Fabricio Zonzoni as vice president of strategy for the North American Zone

Siqueira, A-B’s global vice president of operations and logistics, will succeed Fued Sadala, who is retiring after 23 years, effective August 1.

Carton will be charged with “developing long-term analytics capabilities and transferring that knowledge seamlessly to the teams that execute our plans,” the company said in a press release.

Hahn will work with ZX Ventures, A-B’s global “disruptive growth group,” as well as the company’s commercial team to ensure it is “building the right portfolio to capitalize on opportunities that address consumer needs and drive long-term growth.”

Finally, Zonzoni, the company’s current global vice president of strategy, will be tasked with ensuring the company’s “commercial strategy is coordinated and aligned across the organization.”

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