Charlie’s boss Stefan Lepionka is stepping down at the end of July, triggering a search for a new chief executive to lead the company.
He'll be staying on as a member of the board but wants to apply his skills to other New Zealand businesses in governance and mentoring roles.
He says he's also keen to participate in new ventures that can benefit from the strategic and entrepreneurial skills he brought to Charlie’s.
“My view is that boards are dynamic places and I am looking forward to shifting into a stronger strategic and less operational role,” he said. “The spirit of entrepreneurship is in my blood and it’s an attitude to business I am also keen to take to boardrooms in the wider commercial sector.
Lepionka co-founded Charlie’s with Marc Ellis and Simon Neal in 1999. In 2007, it bought drinks company Phoenix Organic, and last year was acquired by Asahi Group for a cool $129 million and is now part of the Schweppes group.
Before that, Lepionka's previous beverage company, Stefans, was acquired by Frucor and subsequently closed down.
Charlie’s chairman David Beguely acknowledged “the great work that Stefan has done in strategically and operationally growing Charlie’s to the success it is today”.
“Stefan’s knowledge and understanding of the beverage industry is unparalleled in New Zealand and his passion for the company and its products is unrivalled. I look forward to continuing to work with him as we drive for strong growth of our brands in New Zealand, Australia and beyond."
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