Bang Energy named former PepsiCo executive Kathy Cole as its chief operating officer just a day after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Cole, with nearly three decades of experience in the food and beverage space, will play a key role in integrating the energy drink’s supply chain, distribution, operations, sales and finance, according to a press release.
Cole joins Bang from Harvest Sherwood Food Distributors, the largest independent food distributor in the U.S., where she most recently served as president and COO.
Previously, Cole held senior leadership positions at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division where she spent 13 years in sales and finance roles. She also has 14 years of experience working in sales, finance and logistics at Coca-Cola Enterprises, a marketer, producer and distributor of the beverage giant’s products.
“We are confident that Kathy’s skills and longtime industry relationships will fuel Bang Energy’s strategic growth as we transition to a 100% vertically operated decentralized distribution model,” Jack Owoc, Bang’s founder and CEO, said in a statement.
Cole will join Bang during what has been a tumultuous two years for the beverage brand and its parent Vital Pharmaceuticals.
It culminated earlier this week when Vital, which produces Bang, filed for Chapter 11 protection in Florida as it seeks to recover following multiple costly lawsuits that have weighed on its business. Bang also plans to use bankruptcy protection to put in place a new distribution network that Cole will likely play a key role in implementing.
Bang entered into what appeared to be a promising distribution deal with PepsiCo in March 2020, but the energy drink company announced it was terminating the partnership less than a year into the agreement. The decision resulted in a bitter and protracted period of litigation before the companies parted ways. During that time, Bang’s market share plunged, a factor the energy drink maker blamed on PepsiCo in its bankruptcy filing.
Then last month, Monster Energy won $293 million in a false advertising and trade secrets case against Bang. The brand owes Monster, identified in bankruptcy court papers as its largest unsecured creditor, and PepsiCo a total of more than $400 million.