LOS ANGELES, April 24, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Reed’s, Inc. (NYSE:REED), maker of the top selling sodas in natural food stores nationwide, today announced the resignation of Chris Reed as the Chief Executive Officer of Reed’s, Inc. Chris Reed will remain on the board of directors and will serve in the newly created position of Chief Innovation Officer with the focus on developing and launching new and exciting products and flavor profiles. The Company’s board of directors has named director and chairman of the compensation committee Stefan Freeman as Interim CEO effective immediately.
Chris Reed, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer commented, “Reed’s has never had a more impressive portfolio of new products waiting to launch in the history of the Company. My transition from CEO to Chief Innovation Officer allows me to focus my full energies to bringing these exciting new products to fruition. We have developed the first natural soda fountain products and have it in trial at a large national fast casual restaurant chain. These soda fountain versions of our popular natural sodas allow restaurants and other fountain concessions to buy our products for significantly less than the full packaged bottled price and at competitive prices to other fountain products. This supports our strategy for opening up new markets and strengthening our brand equity. In addition, we have developed a compelling line of full flavor, all natural, low calorie sodas that we believe taste identical or better than their full calorie counterparts. I believe that these new product ideas have such significant potential that we will be reaching out to form strategic partnerships, including with larger beverage companies, to help with their implementation.”
Mr. Freeman commented, “I’ve been in the beverage and consumer industry for more than 25 years and believe that there is significant opportunity for growth in the craft beverage category. I am honored to be selected amongst my peers on the board to serve as Interim CEO. John Bello, Chairman of the board of directors, will lead the search for the permanent CEO of Reed’s. Chris did a great job building the brand and developing Reed’s portfolio of award winning craft sodas. We look forward to working with him in his new role as Chief Innovation Officer,” Mr. Freeman concluded.
“I would like to thank Chris for his extensive contributions over the years and for pioneering the craft soda revolution and welcome Stefan to his new role as Interim CEO of Reed’s. Stefan’s extensive experience in the beverage industry will certainly be utilized and the shareholders are fortunate that he is local and available to lead the business during this transitional period. When the shareholders elected this board they strengthened the Company with a great team of experienced and capable executives. We will all be working together to drive growth under the leadership of Stefan while we search for the permanent CEO who will lead this Company through the next stages of growth,” commented John Bello, Chairman of Reed’s, Inc.
About Stefan Freeman – Interim CEO:
Mr. Freeman is a strategic and performance focused executive with more than 25 years in sales operations, manufacturing and supply chain operations in beverages and consumer products. Mr. Freeman has worked for the three largest soda companies in the world and was promoted within each company. From 2011 through 2014, Mr. Freeman was the Regional Vice President of Manufacturing for Coca-Cola Refreshments, managing eight manufacturing plants located throughout Southern California, Arizona and Hawaii. These plants produced 231 million cases with revenues more than $500 million annually. In 2014 Mr. Freeman was promoted from within Coca- Cola Refreshments to Vice President of Fleet Operations in Atlanta, Georgia where he managed one of the five largest fleet operations in North America through April 2016. Prior to working for Coca-Cola, Mr. Freeman was Director of Supply Chain for Dean Foods’ Pacific Coast Group, managing nine production facilities with responsibility for a $155 million annual operating budget. Other prior positions include Director of Sales Operations for Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and Supply Chain Manager and Plant Manager for Pepsi-Cola Bottling Group. Mr. Freeman holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University and is an active member of the Cisco Systems Global Manufacturing Advisory Board.
About Reed’s, Inc.
Reed’s, Inc. makes the top-selling sodas in the natural and specialty foods industry and are sold in over 15,000 natural and mainstream supermarkets nationwide. Reed’s products are sold through an additional estimated 40,000 accounts that include specialty gourmet, natural food stores, retail stores, convenience stores and restaurants nationwide and in select international markets. Reed’s has sold over 500 million bottles since inception in June 1989 and is considered the leader of the fast growing craft soda category. Its seven award-winning non-alcoholic Ginger Brews are unique in the beverage industry, being brewed, not manufactured and using fresh ginger, spices and fruits in a brewing process that predates commercial soft drinks. The Company owns the top-selling root beer line in natural foods, the Virgil’s Root Beer product line, and a top-selling cola line in natural foods, the China Cola product line. In 2012, the Company launched its Reed’s Culture Club Kombucha line of organic live beverages. Other product lines include Reed’s Ginger Candies and previously Reed’s Ginger Ice Creams. For more information about Reed’s, please visit the Company’s website at:
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