Dr Pepper Replaces Bai Founder and CEO

By Lauren R. Hartman, Product Development Editor

Jun 23, 2017

Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Plano, Tex., announced June 22 that Lain Hancock has been named chief executive officer of Bai Brands, replacing Bai founder Ben Weiss, who has left the business.

It's unclear whether Weiss, who started the popular beverage brand in 2009 in the basement of his New Jersey home, resigned or was asked to leave.

Weiss led Bai's ascension from a small, entrepreneurial beverage company to a major force, with Justin TImberlake as an investor. DPS bought Bai last November for $1.7 billion. Heavily marketing its products the last few years, the brand featured a major advertisement during the Super Bowl. DPS said it planned to shift Bai's focus from the club channel, representing a reported 40 percent of its sales, to the convenience-store sector, as well as lowering top-line guidance for Bai from more than 80 percent to 40-50-percent sales growth.

DPS didn't specify a reason or provide further details on the departure, but included a statement from Weiss in a press release: "This is the culmination of an amazing journey for me and my family," Weiss stated. "What we created at Bai made history. I could not be prouder of the Unbelievers I worked side-by-side with, growing Bai to be a disruptor and leader in the beverage industry. This extraordinary brand has been embraced by millions of consumers, and I am confident in its future."

DPS says Hancock will work closely with Ken Kurtz, Bai's president of sales, to drive alignment and coordination between Bai and the DPS selling organization and deliver profitable growth over the long term for the brand. Hancock had previously served as executive vice president, human resources for DPS. He has also held multiple senior leadership positions with the company's supply chain organization, including continuous improvement, manufacturing and procurement. He joined the company in 2007 after serving as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. and as an aviation branch officer in the U.S. Army.

"Lain knows how to inspire and lead winning teams and develop and execute business plans guided by data and insight," said Larry Young, DPS president and CEO. "As part of our executive leadership team for the past four years, he understands how to best bring Dr Pepper Snapple's full capabilities and resources to support Bai's sales, marketing and brand building efforts."

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