Charlie’s Trading Company Limited CEO Stefan Lepionka changes focus at the end of July, stepping down as CEO and continuing to guide the strategic direction of the business as a member of the board.
At the same time, Stefan wants to add his skills to a broader range of businesses in New Zealand in governance and mentoring roles. He is also keen to participate in new ventures that can benefit from the strategic and entrepreneurial skills he has brought to Charlie’s.
Stefan co-founded Charlie’s with Marc Ellis and Simon Neal in 1999. In 2007, Charlie’s expanded with the acquisition of the New Zealand-based Phoenix Organic drinks company. Today, the Charlie’s and Phoenix brands are household names in New Zealand.
Last year Charlie’s was acquired by a subsidiary of Japanese Brewer, Asahi Group Holdings, Limited and is now part of the Schweppes group.
Stefan says he is very much looking forward to continuing his links with Charlie’s and 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 says. “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.
“I have also very much enjoyed my recent mentoring roles through ASB Bank and would like to extend that in to opportunities where I can get involved at a directional level with New Zealand entrepreneurs,” Stefan says.
Chairman of Charlie’s Trading Company David Beguely publicly acknowledges “the great work that Stefan has done in strategically and operationally growing Charlie’s to the success it is today”.
“We are all very pleased that Stefan remains committed to the group as a valuable member of the governance team.
“Stefan’s knowledge and understanding of the beverage industry is unparalleled in New Zealand and his passion for the company and its products is unrivalled. I look forward to continuing to work with him as we drive for strong growth of our brands in New Zealand, Australia and beyond,” Mr Beguely says.
The change takes effect from July 31 and Charlie’s has commenced its search for a new chief executive.