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    People on the Move: CEOs in the News

    Coca-Cola, Nestle Waters and more welcome new lead executives.

    Fernando Mercé took the helm at Nestlé Waters North America as president and CEO on May 1.

    NATIONAL REPORT — Retailers, wholesalers and suppliers in the convenience store industry are only as good as their management teams and employees. In this special roundup, Convenience Store News runs down the most recent executive changes at the top in the industry. 

    The Coca-Cola Co.

    The Coca-Cola Co. announced several changes in senior leadership positions. The moves went into effect when James Quincey, former president and chief operating officer, became CEO on May 1.

    Leaders assuming new or expanded responsibility in the organization and reporting directly to Quincey, include:

    • Francisco Crespo, who served as president of the Mexico business unit, fills the newly created role of chief growth officer. 
    • Robert Long, former vice president, research and development, became a direct report to the CEO as chief innovation officer. 
    • Barry Simpson, former senior vice president and chief information officer, remains in his role but was elevated as a direct report to the CEO.
    • Kathy Waller, former executive vice president and chief financial officer, assumed expanded responsibility for the company's strategic governance areas as executive vice president, chief financial officer and president, Enabling Services. 
    • Robin Moore, former chief of internal audit, now leads a newly created Integrated Services team.
    • Mark Eppert, who served as chief financial and supply chain officer for Coca-Cola North America, now leads the new Global Business Transformation. 
    • Jennifer Mann, former chief of staff to Quincey, will become chief people officer. 
    • Bea Perez, former vice president and chief sustainability officer, took the role of chief public affairs, communications and sustainability officer.

    The company also saw a number of senior leadership retirements, including: Marcos de Quinto, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, after a nearly 35-year Coca-Cola career; Ceree Eberly, senior vice president and chief people officer, after a 27-year Coca-Cola career; and Clyde Tuggle, senior vice president and chief public affairs and communications officer, after a 28-year Coca-Cola career. 


    Gladson has tapped Paul Salay as the company's new CEO. Salay joins the company after 25 years in the Software as a Service (SaaS) and technology-enabled services industry, working with a variety of companies to help them refine their go-to-market strategies while innovating and setting new industry standards for service and capabilities. 

    He joins the team from Cision, a leading provider of media communications, technology and analytics software, where he served as chief commercial officer. Prior to that he served as president of Market Track LLC. 

    Salay's addition to the Gladson team comes on the heels of The Wicks Group, a New York-based private investment firm, acquiring the company in January, which signaled the first step in the progression of the long-standing brand to a client-first approach, according to the company.
    "We are excited for Paul to lead the Gladson team in this next phase of growth, developing new capabilities that will provide additional value to the company's clients," said Thomas Kearney, principal of The Wicks Group. "His domain expertise with retailers and brand manufacturers as well as his extensive technology and e-Commerce background are the mix we needed to move Gladson forward."

    JUST Goods Inc.

    May 1 marked the first day for new JUST Goods Inc. CEO Ira Laufer. He will lead the next phase of growth and expansion for JUST Water, JUST Goods’ sustainable line of 100-percent spring water in an innovative, grab-and-go bottle made from plant-based, renewable resources.

    Laufer brings with him 17 years of experience in leading better-for-you and specialty consumer packaged goods brands including Red’s Natural Foods and Vitalicious. His main focus is to further leverage the JUST brand, execute entry into additional categories as well as create line extensions in the beverage category.

    Nestlé Waters North America 

    Fernando Mercé took the helm at Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) as president and CEO on May 1. Mercé, formerly CEO of Nestlé Purina Latin America & Caribbean, will oversee all Nestlé Waters North America's operations in the United States and Canada. He will also serve as a member of the global Nestlé Waters board of directors.

    "I am delighted that Fernando will be leading Nestlé Waters North America as it begins an exciting new chapter," said Maurizio Patarnello, chairman and CEO, Nestlé Waters. "His proven leadership, passion for innovation and deep commitment to creating a learning culture will enrich our strong NWNA teams and ensure that we build on our growth legacy to retain our leadership position in the category."

    Mercé began his career with Nestlé in 1992 as an industrial engineer with the Operations Improvement Team, before joining marketing and steadily increasing his responsibilities. His roles have included e-business development, director of marketing for the Friskies brand, and global marketing director in the PetCare Global Strategic Business Unit. 

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