People on the Move: British American Tobacco, Flavorman & Liquid Barcodes Inc.

S. Abraham & Sons Inc., SurgePays Inc. and The Wills Group also made personnel changes and announcements.
Amanda Koprowski
Associate Editor
Amanda Koprowski profile picture

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.

[Read more: People on the Move: CDA, Rutter's & TravelCenters of America]

British American Tobacco logo

British American Tobacco plc

British American Tobacco (BAT) appointed Cora Koppe-Stahrenberg to the new role of chief people officer, as well as to a position on the BAT management board. She will report directly to BAT CEO Tadeu Marroco.

"This is a significant management team enhancing appointment for BAT," said Marroco. "I have no doubt that Cora will bring a fresh perspective, having worked internationally in multiple sectors outside our industry and will bring new insights and capability to our management team.

Koppe-Stahrenberg most recently served as global head of human resources of Fresenius Medical Care, a global healthcare company. While there, she established a new global human resources function and implemented a global people strategy which focused on the creation of a collaborative culture. Previously, Koppe-Stahrenberg held various international senior HR positions at Marsh & McLennan Cos., Emirates Investment Authority and General Electric.

Flavorman Executive Team 2023


Scott Weddle will be moving from his role as chief operations officer to CEO of beverage development company Flavorman. He is taking over the position from company founder Dave Dafoe, who will continue to serve on the executive board as the chief commercial officer, who will oversee the company's marketing, sales and client relations departments.

"Having grown with this company over the last 13 years, it is an overwhelming honor and privilege to be entrusted with stewarding Flavorman into the future. I couldn't ask for a better team, and I am energized and excited to charge alongside them into the next era of success," said Weddle.

Chief Business Officer Jon Wood, who has been with the company for 28 years, will now assume the responsibilities of the chief operations officer.

Along with these changes, Flavorman also brought on board Holly Cropper as the first chief financial officer in the company's history. A former corporate controller at HMI Glass with experience in finance and business operations, Cropper will be responsible for accounting and high-level financial decisions for the company.

Liquid Barcodes Logo

Liquid Barcodes Inc.

As part of its ongoing expansion in the North American market, digital marketing technology provider Liquid Barcodes Inc. has added several new members to its team.

[Read more: Former C-store Chain Execs Invest in Expanding Technology Company]

Nick Cozad and Elijah Wilson joined the company's sales team in order to work with convenience chains and help them implement loyalty and subscription solutions. Both men have considerable experience in the convenience silo, having worked with Petrosoft and a convenience merchandising company, respectively, according to Liquid Barcodes.

Cody Schneider and Lara Pagendarm-Winter also came on board as a customer service manager for North American and as a marketing specialist, respectively. Both have already begun engaging with customers and implementing marketing strategies.

Saurabh Swarup will continue as general manager and head of sales for the U.S. business, while Carolyn Schnare remains in her role as chief content officer.

S. Abraham & Sons Inc. 

Dick Minor, Michigan regional vice president of sales for Imperial Trading Co.'s subsidiary S. Abraham & Sons Inc. (SAS), has retired from the company after 41 years.

Minor began his career with SAS as a sales rep in 1982. In 1986, he was promoted to sales manager in central Michigan before moving onto the role of sales director for the state of Ohio in 1994. While in that position, he helped build a business base which allowed SAS to expand geographically in the state. In 1998, Minor was promoted to regional vice president of sales for eastern Michigan and then took over for the entire state in 2012.

Minor has been an active member of the Michigan Petroleum Association, Central Michigan Oilmen's Club and Detroit Oilmen's Club. He also represented SAS at all association events.

SurgePays Inc.

Gary Chekan joined technology and telecom company SurgePays as the new director of revenue assurance and financial technology, where he will oversee wireless revenue assurance, forecasting, business intelligence reporting and margin efficiencies. He will also be responsible for reporting consolidation across multiple company software platforms, creating centralized sales revenue and back-office visibility for executive management

Chekan has more than 25 years of experience in leading finance organizations at large and small telecom organizations. 

"Gary's most recent experience as technology solutions manager at T-Mobile will prove invaluable as we launch our upcoming prepaid wireless brand, LinkUp Mobile, to the underbanked and underserved communities," said Jeremy Gies, president of SurgePays Fintech. "We believe Gary's experience … will help us expedite our nationwide expansion and be more effective in pursuit of our goals."

Mark Samuels headshot

The Wills Group

Dash In parent company The Wills Group appointed Mark Samuels to executive vice president of convenience retailing. 

[Read more: The Wills Group Highlights Accomplishments in Community Engagement Report]

In his new role, Samuels will expand his scope at The Wills Group to refine Dash In's retail strategy and commitment to food service innovation while also growing the Splash In ECO Car Wash line of business across the Mid-Atlantic region. 

"Mark Samuels embodies the Wills Group's commitment to innovation and investing in our people," said Julian B. (Blackie) Wills, III, president and CEO of the Wills Group. "Since his first day at the Wills Group more than 25 years ago, Samuels has continually pushed our team to examine what convenience retail innovation could look like for Dash In, while also leading Dash In's focus to go above and beyond when it comes to customer service." 

Samuels previously served as Wills' vice president of retail, where he implemented growth strategies across Dash In operations, foodservice and marketing, and helped support the expansion of the retail chain's footprint. In 2018, he served a lead role in the strategy and execution of Dash In's neighborhood concept store in Chesterfield, Va., which ultimately served as a template for all current brand locations. Samuels also oversaw Dash In's renewed foodservice strategy when it was recognized as Convenience Store News 2023 foodservice innovator of the year