People on the Move: Yesway, Coca-Cola, Growth Energy & NEW

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People on the Move: Yesway, Coca-Cola, Growth Energy & NEW


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. 

The Coca-Cola Co.

The Coca-Cola Co. promoted Barry Simpson, the company's previous head of Global Business Unit IT Services, to chief information officer (CIO). In his new role, Simpson will oversee all of the company's global information technology strategy, services and operations.

A nearly 30-year IT industry veteran, Simpson joined the Coca-Cola system in 2008 as Group CIO of the Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) Group, a major Coca-Cola bottler based in Sydney, Australia. In this role he was responsible for the development and implementation of IT strategy for the CCA Group across multiple lines of business in six Asia-Pacific markets. He joined The Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta in January where he has been responsible for overseeing IT services provided to all of the company's business units worldwide.

Before joining the Coca-Cola system, Simpson served in various IT leadership roles for Colgate-Palmolive based in Australia, Malaysia and the United States from 1990-2008.

Simpson succeeds long-time Coca-Cola CIO Ed Steinike, who passed away earlier this year after a brief illness. Simpson has served as the company's interim CIO during this period.

Corner Capital Advisors LLC

Corner Capital Advisors LLC welcomed Rick Golman as senior vice president, business development. Golman brings a long career in downstream energy to the firm. Most recently he served for four years as a board member of Empire Petroleum Partners LLC.  

Prior to Empire, Golman built several retail ventures in the convenience retailing and alcohol distribution industries. In 1960, Golman and his family established the QuikWay convenience store chain in Dallas, growing the chain to 88 stores and becoming a premier fuel distributor for the Shell brand and others.  

The chain was acquired in 2011 by Empire Petroleum, where Golman remained and held operating roles as well as serving as a member of the board of directors. Prior to convenience retailing, his family owned and operated a 15-store liquor chain in Dallas.  

Corner Capital is also welcomed Cole Wisniewski as an analyst. Wisniewski brings prior analytical experience from Focus Strategies Investment Banking, and Harris Preston & Partners LLC in Austin.  

Growth Energy

Growth Energy named Christopher Hogan as the trade association's new vice president of communications and public affairs, effective Nov. 28. In his new role, Hogan will oversee all aspects of the organization's efforts to raise awareness of ethanol's importance as America's leading source of clean, affordable, homegrown energy.

Hogan joins Growth Energy from the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), where he served since 2011 as vice president of communications. Prior to his work at IBWA, he spent 16 years managing communications, government affairs and strategic relations in Washington, D.C., including eight years at the American Gas Association, where he served as director of communications and director of corporate affairs and investor relations. 

In other company news, former Growth Energy CEO and current co-chairman of the Growth Energy board of directors, Tom Buis, was presented with the America's Fuel award. The award is the highest honor given by Growth Energy, and is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to the growth and well-being of the ethanol industry.

Buis served as Growth Energy's CEO for seven years. His many achievements include: advocating for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS); submitting and receiving approval on the Green Jobs Waiver to allow E15 into 21st century engines; the launch of Prime the Pump and Growth Energy's work with the USDA Biofuels Infrastructure Program to bring blender pumps into the marketplace; and foreign market development initiatives and trade missions to expand ethanol globally.

Harvard Group International 

Harvard Group International, a mid-size retained executive search firm, has added Margaret Gramann to its team as the managing director for its consumer/retail practice. Focused on the firm’s consumer and retail practices, Gramann specializes on C-suite and board searches with specific expertise in general management, sales and marketing roles. 

During her corporate career, she held roles at The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. Most recently, Gramann was head of sales for Avon's flagship North American business unit.

Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc.

Robbie L. Radant joined Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc. as a director in its downstream energy and retail group. He will head Matrix's new Dallas office, originate new client assignments, and execute transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, capital raises, and corporate valuations. 

Radant comes to Matrix after working 28 years for 7-Eleven Inc. During his tenure with 7-Eleven, he served in multiple operational, finance, and accounting roles. His most recent position was vice president of mergers and acquisitions. In that capacity, he led 7-Eleven's acquisition team on closing 27 transactions, totaling 1,400 convenience stores and more than 1,200 wholesale fuel sites.

In addition, Radant executed five structured sell-side divestment processes and oversaw the sale of more than 300 individual store locations. As part of his responsibilities, he also initiated and managed the sale leaseback of 50 small strip centers.

The Network of Executive Women 

The Network of Executive Women (NEW) elected three new members to its board of directors at NEW’s 2016 members meeting at the NEW Leadership Summit, Sept. 29, 2016 in Orlando, Fla.

Joining the NEW Board as directors at-large are Dagmar Boggs, president, 7-Eleven global team at The Coca-Cola Co.; Elizabeth Marrion, managing director, retail for Accenture; and Valerie Oswalt, president of U.S. sales at Mondelēz International. Their terms begin Jan. 1, 2017.

At the members meeting, NEW Chair Karen Stuckey, senior vice president, private brands, general merchandise for Walmart U.S, was elected to her second term.

Stoelting Foodservice 

Stoelting Foodservice, a division of The Vollrath Co. LLC, appointed industry veteran Stefano Pavesi as business development manager. In his new role, he will drive new and existing sales opportunities in addition to supporting the product knowledge and training processes. He will report to Greg Stak, director of sales and operations.

In his 15-year foodservice career, Pavesi has held sales and sales management positions. Most recently, he served as vice president of chain accounts for Carpigiani North America, and was previously the company's director of sales and marketing. Prior to that, he held sales management positions with both Bravo North America and PreGel North America. 

22nd Century Group Inc. 

Michael Zercher has joined 22nd Century Group Inc. as vice president of business development. He previously headed Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co.'s international business operations based in Zurich.

At 22nd Century, Zercher will spearhead the efforts to form strategic partnerships with companies capable of widely commercializing 22nd Century's proprietary brands. In addition, he will pursue sales of the company's proprietary Very Low Nicotine tobacco leaf and high nicotine tobacco leaf.


TroverCo named David Leavitt, former Hostess Brands executive, as president and chief operating officer (COO). As president and COO, Leavitt will have full day-to-day operations management for the company. He will report to Joseph Trover, who has been CEO and chairman since 2010.


Douglas New has taken on the role of chief technology officer at Yesway. He most recently served as chief information officer at Tedeschi Food Shops Inc., a New England-based retail convenience business. While CIO at Tedeschi, New developed technology strategy and oversaw all IT-related activities and support services for 181 stores and 2,300 employees.

New reports directly to Mark Daniels, the firm's chief strategy officer. He is responsible for mapping and implementing Yesway's technology strategy, and his duties include defining the execution plan for Yesway's e-commerce platform.

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