Mikeas Hard Lemonade Co. Announces Leadership Change

Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co. announced today the resignation of President Philip W. O’Neil effective Monday, June 4, 2012, following five incredibly successful years in building the brand to its current leadership position. Kevin Kotecki, former president and chief executive officer of Pabst Brewing Company, will succeed O’Neil who is leaving the business to pursue new opportunities closer to home in Southern California. Once the transition of leadership responsibilities is complete, O’Neil will continue to serve in an advisory capacity to Founder and Chairman Anthony von Mandl to focus on long-term vision and strategy for the company.

 “Phil has been instrumental in building the mike’s hard lemonade® business across the United States. We are extremely grateful for his leadership and accomplishments and welcome him as a consultant on the business. He will always be part of the mike’s family,” said von Mandl. “Now is the time for our next phase of growth at mike’s and we are fortunate to have an industry veteran like Kevin Kotecki to lead the company into the future. I look forward to his fresh perspective on the business and have high expectations of what we can accomplish under his stewardship.”

Since joining Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co. in June of 2007, O’Neil has led a remarkable turn-around of the company resulting in five years of double digit growth. In 2010, under his leadership, mike’s was named Small Company of the Year by Beverage Forum. O’Neil leaves the company in a dominant position of strength; mike’s hard lemonade is currently the number one FMB (flavored malt beverage) across all channels including food, drug, liquor and, most remarkably, convenience store where mike’s now holds a market share of 29 percent (versus four percent in 2007.) The company currently ranks eighth among the top 10 beer companies in the United States, situated behind the giants of the beer industry.

“With the company’s recent relocation to Chicago, Anthony and I agreed that now is the optimal time to turn things over to a new leader with a fresh perspective. I have a tremendous amount of pride in the brands we have built and everything our team has accomplished at mike’s and I will undoubtedly miss it. But at the same time, I’m exhilarated at the prospect of moving on to the next phase of my career. I leave knowing the company has a bright future and is in capable hands.”

Kotecki joins the company most recently from Pabst Brewing Company, where he held the position of president and CEO and was responsible for the turnaround of the Pabst business. Previously, he served as vice president and general manager at Coors Brewing Company. He is a proven consumer products leader with deep experience in both marketing and finance with companies such as Proctor & Gamble.  Kotecki, a Chicago resident, will be based out of Mike’s new Chicago headquarters.

Commenting on his new role, Kevin Kotecki said, “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the mike’s team and have the opportunity to build on Phil’s success. The company has an amazing track record of success in creating a loyal and growing consumer franchise, and driving superior profitability for both distributor and retail customers.  Mike’s is poised for a new era of growth.”


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