Halpern Moves to North American Breweries

By 
Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A recent series of beer-company leadership changes has executives moving from one major brewer to another throughout the United States. Most recently, Josh Halpern, formerly vice president of small format for Anheuser-Busch, moved northeast to take a lead sales position at North American Breweries.

Here’s a look at that move and three other beverage-company leadership changes shaking up the industry …

North American Breweries

In an unexpected move, Josh Halpern, who was vice president of small format for Anheuser-Busch, has left the country’s largest brewer to take the role of chief sales officer at North American Breweries (NAB), makers of Genesee, Magic Hat, Seagram’s Escapes and other beers.

Halpern (pictured above) has more than 17 years of sales experience in consumer products. He will oversee NAB’s sales team and sales operations, working to improve selling capabilities, drive wholesaler relations and strengthen execution among key accounts and the NAB distribution network, the company said.

“NAB is an amazing company with its [strategy] and brand portfolio,” said Halpern. “I’m looking forward to partnering with our team, wholesalers and retailers to exceed our goals.”

The appointment follows NAB CEO Adrian Lachowski joining the company in January with a commercial background in the beer industry. Lachowski took the lead role when Kris Sirchio stepped down after five years with the brewer.

Lachowski comes from A-B parent company Anheuser-Busch In Bev. A citizen of Argentina, he has more than 20 years of experience in the beer industry. Most recently he oversaw operations in Paraguay and Argentina for AB InBev.

The two appointments, along with a shift in the NAB business model, provides more focus on the commercial business, the company said.

“Josh’s experience and leadership will help us build our sales operations with a focus on topline growth,” said Lachowski. “We’re recruiting top talent all over the world to enhance our operations in the U.S. Josh is well-known in the industry. He has great relationships and a strong track record. He will provide important leadership that will help us achieve our goals.”

North American Breweries is based in Rochester, N.Y.

Diageo North America

Nuno Teles will join Diageo North America as the president of Diageo Beer Co. USA, effective March 1. Teles joins from Heineken USA, where he is currently chief marketing officer, a position he has held since 2014.

"I am delighted Nuno is joining our business,” said Deirdre Mahlan, president of Diageo North America. “He has strong strategic orientation, commerciality and thought leadership.  I know he will be a strong partner to me and the rest of the North America Executive in delivering our ambitions."

Teles has 14 years of experience in the beer industry, starting at Scottish & Newcastle, followed by a move to Heineken in 2004.

Meanwhile, Tom Day, chief sales officer for Diageo, will continue in his advisory role as chairman of Diageo Beer Co. USA.

Diageo, Horwalk, Conn., is a leader in beverage alcohol. Its brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan's whiskies, Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Heineken USA

As Teles moves to Diageo, Heineken USA has appointed Jonnie Cahill as the company's new chief marketing officer. In April, Cahill will join the Heineken USA management team and will report to CEO Ronald den Elzen.

Cahill is joining Heineken USA, White Plains, N.Y., from Heineken’s global commerce leadership team in Amsterdam, where he currently serves as the global commerce senior director, low and no alcohol. In this role, Cahill built the business unit, set a clear strategic direction for the low- and no-alcohol business, and ignited its innovation agenda. Heineken's low- and no-alcohol portfolio now represents more than 5% of the company’s total global volume.

Prior to this role, he was the CMO of Heineken Russia. Cahill first joined Heineken in 2008 as CMO of Heineken Ireland.

"Jonnie is an inspirational leader who brings strong strategic vision, a true passion for our business and a proven track record of delivering results," said den Elzen. "He also has an eye for transformative innovation, which is exactly what the beer industry in the U.S. needs right now."

Coca-Cola North America

John Hackett was named president of the Minute Maid Business Unit of Coca-Cola North America effective Jan. 1, 2018.

In this role, Hackett is responsible for growing and expanding the company’s juice, dairy and plant-based portfolio, including well-established brands such as Minute Maid and Simply, as well as emerging, high-potential brands such as Zico, fairlife and Suja.

Hackett has extensive experience in the Coca-Cola system, including roles of increasing responsibility in corporate, Coca-Cola North America and the Asia Pacific Group.

Most recently, he was senior vice president of Global Juice, Dairy & Plant-Based Beverages, and before that, he led the company’s Global Juice & Stills team. In those roles, he was responsible for strategy, stewardship and innovation for some of the company’s largest brands, including Aquarius, Ayataka, Bon Aqua, Dasani, Fuze Tea, Gold Peak, Georgia Coffee, Minute Maid, Minute Maid Pulpy, Powerade, Simply and vitaminwater.

Previously, Hackett also led the Global Marketing, Strategy and Insights department. He held senior roles leading the Asia Pacific Group’s brand and consumer marketing organization, in Global Customer and Commercial Leadership, and leading CCNA marketing.