Lepionka to step down as Charlie's CEO

 Co-founder Stefan Lepionka is to step down as the juice and soft drink maker's chief executive.

BUSINESSDESK: Charlie's, the juice and soft drink maker sold to Asahi Group last year, says co-founder Stefan Lepionka will step down as chief executive, effective July 31.

Mr Lepionka will continue to sit on the board.

He co-founded Charlie's with former rugby star Marc Ellis and Simon Neal in 1999.

The Auckland-based firm has already started looking for Mr Lepionka's replacement.

Mr Lepionka says he is looking forward to continuing working with Asahi from a boardroom perspective.

“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.

He says he is keen to add his skills to a broader range of businesses in New Zealand in governance and mentoring roles, while partipating in new ventures.

"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."

David Beguely, chairman of Charlie's, said Lepionka's knowledge and understanding of the beverage industry was unparalleled in New Zealand.

Last year, Charlie's was acquired by Asahi and is now part of the Schweppes group, which the Japanese brewer bought in 2009.

Charlie's also owns the New Zealand-based Phoenix Organic drinks company.


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