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News Alert: Breakthru Appoints Tom Bené as New President and CEO

September 1, 2021

Breakthru Beverage has appointed Tom Bené as its new president and CEO, effective October 4, 2021. He will succeed Greg Baird, Breakthru’s current president and CEO, who will serve as an advisor to Bené through the end of the year, assisting in the transition. Bené joins Breakthru from the National Restaurant Association, where he served as president and CEO. In addition to his experience at the NRA, Bené has also led Sysco Corporation and PepsiCo’s foodservice business.

As Breakthru’s new CEO, Bené will pick up where Baird is leaving off and continue to drive the company toward greater sales and marketshare, and also keep the focus on technology and innovation. “We are thrilled to welcome Tom to Breakthru Beverage as our next president and CEO. Tom has a demonstrated history of leading organizations through periods of exceptional growth and innovation,” said Charles Merinoff, co-chairman of Breakthru’s board.

With over 30 years of industry experience, Bené will be able to draw from a deep well as he guides Breakthru forward. While at Sysco, he oversaw numerous acquisitions and helped expand the company’s sales to over $60 billion globally. “Tom brings invaluable expertise in distribution strategy and supplier and customer partnerships. We are confident that he will advance Breakthru’s position as an industry leader as we implement our growth strategy and continue to transform our business,” said W. Rockwell Wirtz, Breakthru’s co-chairman.

Baird steps down after leading Breakthru for its first five years. He guided the company following the merger of Charmer and Wirtz Beverage and helped secure its position as the third-largest distributor in the U.S., operating in 15 markets and with roughly $6 billion in revenue for 2020. Prior to taking the helm when Breakthru was formed, Baird was a veteran of Charmer Sunbelt. During his tenure as CEO, Baird steered Breakthru toward a digital future, partnering with B2B e-commerce platform Provi and pioneering Breakthru’s proprietary digital platform, Breakthru Now.

“On behalf of the Board of Managers, I’d like to share my heartfelt gratitude to Greg for his leadership and achievements. His steadfast commitment to our suppliers, customers, and associates has set the foundation for Breakthru’s tremendous future,” said Merinoff. “We wish him the very best in his upcoming retirement and look forward to celebrating his contributions to Breakthru.”

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