New CEO for Charlie's

Last updated 11:25 15/10/2012

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Craig Cotton steps up to lead Charlie's as co-founder Stefan Lepionka departs after bedding-in the company’s transition to Asahi ownership.

Cotton joins Charlie's from a 17-year career with Coca-Cola Amatil NZ most recently as national sales manager, non-grocery.

"It's an exciting time to be joining Charlie's," Cotton said. "Our beverage brands are recognised and enjoyed by consumers and there is great opportunity for growth through innovation and market expansion."

"Not many New Zealand companies enjoy the opportunities we do. We have local and offshore manufacturing facilities, the best brands in our categories and are now owned by Asahi who are keen to invest for growth".

"We will continue to keep the business deeply rooted in its 'Kiwi-ness'. Charlie's was born in New Zealand and is managed and run from here. That is important to us and we will not be turning our backs on our heritage."

Lepionka co-founded the juice company with childhood friend Marc Ellis in 1999. It was bought by global brewing giant Asahi in August last year.

Born: Palmerston North, March 1974
Qualifications: Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Agricultural Economics, Massey University (graduated 1995)
General Manager Programme - Australian Graduate School of Management 2010
Recent roles: National sales manager NZ, non-grocery, Coca-Cola Amatil NZ (January 2011 - October 2012)
National sales manager NZ, grocery, Coca-Cola Amatil NZ
(June 2006 - January 2011)
Pacific Islands business manager, The Coca-Cola Company
(August 2003 - June 2006)
Interests: Father of two, fitness, wine, cooking, reading, gardening, sports, outdoor activities.

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