Jones Soda named former PepsiCo executive David Knight as its new CEO.
Knight will take over as president and chief executive on June 23. He replaces Mark Murray, who joined the company in September 2020, then took on the chief executive role three months later.
In a release, Jones’ chairman Paul Norman highlighted the incoming CEO’s nearly 40 years of global marketing, sales and corporate communications experience with some of the world's top food and beverage companies.
Knight previously served as vice president of marketing at Gatorade International for PepsiCo International and vice president of marketing Asia Pacific for Quaker Oats. Most recently, he was the CEO and co-founder of SX Latin Liquors, a start-up company that developed and launched Latin spirits, and chief beverage officer for CFH Ltd, where he built a beverage division that included CBD beverages.
“The Board feels that his successful track record of growing and managing dynamic and youthful brands makes David the perfect person to lead Jones as the Company works to continue to build on the significant progress Mark Murray has made as our CEO over the past few years,” Norman said in a statement.
Jones Soda has touted itself as a maker of premium soda, with many of its offerings in unique flavors that Big Soda wouldn’t touch, including Blue Bubblegum, Turkey-and-Gravy, Pineapple Cream and Strawberry Lime. The labels on its sodas are adorned with photographs submitted by consumers, creating an emotional connection to the brand and a way to differentiate itself from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
Jones Soda also entered cannabis with the launch of Mary Jones, a collection of cannabis-infused sodas, syrups and gummies. The company is adding new flavors to the line and planning expansions in Washington, Michigan and Nevada. Knight’s previous experience with CBD should prove valuable as Jones Soda expands the offering.
“As a leading craft soda manufacturer with a growing line of cannabis products, I am excited about the opportunity to lead Jones,” Knight said. “Jones is well-positioned for continued growth.”
During 2022, revenue at Jones Soda increased 29% to $19.1 million compared to $14.8 million a year earlier. Its net loss increased to $1.6 million from $1.3 million, largely due to higher expenses related to the development and marketing of Mary Jones.