People on the Move: 7-Eleven, Love's, Parker's & Dash In

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, new hires, promotions and people achievements happening in the industry.

7-Eleven Inc.

Dennis Phelps has been promoted to vice president, merchandising, fresh food at 7-Eleven. In his new position, Phelps leads the retailer's strategic foodservice categories at the headquarters and field level. This includes the management of 7-Eleven's fresh daily commissary and bakery business system partners.

He previously served as senior director, proprietary beverage brands; senior director, beverage; vice president, foodservice; and vice president, merchandise intelligence at 7-Eleven.

Acumera Inc.

Acumera added Danny White to its executive team as vice president of operations to lead the staff that manages the deployment, installation and configuration of new customer sites.

According to Dirk Heinen, Acumera's CEO, White was brought on to implement systems and processes that will maintain Acumera's customer-focused culture, while meeting the market's growing demand for secure, reliable connectivity. 

White has more than 25 years of leadership experience in rapidly growing technology businesses. Prior to joining Acumera, he helped launch the cloud-based design software offerings for Autodesk, Global Services. He also served as vice president of manufacturing and services for Multimedia Games, a leading provider of networked gaming and lottery systems.

Diageo plc

Diageo made several leadership appointments, including naming a new president for Diageo North America. Deirdre Mahlan, currently chief financial officer, is to be appointed president when current president Larry Schwartz retires by the end of this calendar year. Mahlan will continue in her role as CFO until her replacement is named.

Tom Looney, currently president of Diageo-Guinness USA (DGUSA), has been appointed to the role of president, U.S. Open and Control States. His appointment combines Open and Control States leadership into one role as the company continues to improve its commercial model. This move follows the announcement that Mark Hubler, president, Open States and National Accounts, will depart Diageo effective July 31. 

Jeff Ivey, chief commercial officer, will expand his role to include leadership of the National Accounts business, as well as Commercial Capabilities.

In addition, Tom Day, currently senior vice president of sales for DGUSA, is moving up to the role of DGUSA president. Day will join the North America executive team.

Separately, Diageo announced Claudia Schubert, president, Control States will assume the role of general manager, Continental Europe effective Sept. 1, based in Amsterdam. 

The Hershey Co.

Marketing veteran Peter Horst joined The Hershey Co. as senior vice president, chief marketing officer (CMO), effective July 27. He comes to Hershey from Capital One Financial Corp., where he served as senior vice president, brand marketing, and prior to that, CMO for Capital One Bank.

"Peter is a seasoned marketing leader who has the skills, experience and proven track record to continue to evolve our marketing organization, build our iconic brands and drive global growth for the company," said J.P. Bilbrey, chairman, president and CEO of The Hershey Co.

Former CMO Mike Wege has been appointed senior vice president, chief administrative officer, and continues as a member of the company's Global Leadership Team. In this role, Wege continues to lead the company's global organizational agility and growth initiative, and other strategic projects for the company.

"Mike is a highly experienced leader, and I appreciate his commitment to help position the company for future growth as we accelerate our business in new markets around the world," Bilbrey added.

Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores 

Long-time Love's employee Roger Ahuja has taken on the role of vice president of operations. He will oversee a large portion of Love's retail operations at the store level, and also manage operations for two new ventures: Love's Hospitality and Love's Storage Solutions.

Love's currently operates three hotels in Texas and Florida under Love's Hospitality, and two self-storage facilities in Texas under Love's Self Storage.

"With Roger's experience and skills as an effective business strategist, he will be an exceptional leader," said Tom Love, executive chairman and founder of Love's. "He's already mentored and coached many employees who have experienced success, so this is a natural transition for him."  

Ahuja began his career with Love's in 1994 as manager of an Oklahoma City location and has held several management and director positions over the years.

Mark VII Equipment Inc.

Mark VII Equipment, the North American subsidiary of WashTec AG of Germany, named Randy Wingert as manager of special projects. His background includes more than 25 years in marketing management positions in the car care industry at Turtle Wax and Ryko Solutions. He will be based at Mark VII's factory in suburban Denver.


MillerCoors announced that David Kroll has been named chief marketing officer and Kevin Doyle has been named president, sales and distributor operations.

Kroll replaces Andy England who is leaving to pursue other interests. Doyle replaces Ed McBrien, who is also leaving after 21 years with MillerCoors and Coors Brewing Co.

Kroll joined MillerCoors in 2012 as vice president of innovation. A year later, he assumed responsibility for insights. Prior to joining MillerCoors, Kroll served as vice president at Dyson, leading the commercial operations for the United States and Mexico region.

Doyle joined Miller Brewing Co. in 1983 as a retail representative and has grown his career over the years at MillerCoors and Miller, serving in a number of roles including general manager, regional vice president, chief customer officer, and most recently chief commercial solutions officer.

Parker's Convenience Stores

Parker's recently promoted Sarah Bragg to development supervisor. She is responsible for implementing training and development strategies for Parker's retail stores in Georgia and South Carolina.

The Missouri native originally joined the company in 2012 as manager of its Ellabell, Ga., store. She previously worked as an assistant manager, trainer and cashier at Eagle Stop in Eugene, Mo.

In addition, Parker's recently hired Jonathan Wilson as a loss prevention manager. He is responsible for protecting assets at all of the retailer's locations though the execution of strategic safety, inventory recovery and theft reduction programs.

Before joining Parker's, Wilson worked as a loss prevention manager at Kmart and Belk for five years. The accomplished reporting analyst and internal investigations expert earned an award as Kmart's Top New Loss Prevention Manager in 2013.

The Wills Group

Blacklock Wills Jr., chairman, president and CEO of The Wills Group — owner of the Dash In convenience store chain — is among 11 new members of the Maryland Economic Development Commission (MEDC).

Joining Wills on the panel is Howard Blackwell Bowen, CEO of Ewing Oil Co., a wholesale distributor of petroleum products.

"We are fortunate to draw upon the expertise of some of the best and brightest minds in Maryland to evaluate the state's business climate and develop strategies that advance our key economic development priorities," said Gov. Larry Hogan. "I look forward to working closely with the MEDC as we continue to spread the word that Maryland is open for business and promote the state as a great place to live and work and grow."

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