Jones Soda Co. said this week that 38-year CPG and foodservice executive Mark Murray has been named its new president and CEO.
Murray, who joined the Seattle-based beverage company as a consultant earlier this year and was named president in September, succeeds Jamie Colbourne as CEO. Colbourne was serving as interim CEO since April when Jennifer Cue resigned.
The company said Murray helped engineer a turnaround that saw the company achieve a 17% year-over-year third-quarter revenue increase and improved gross margins after six consecutive quarters of revenue decline.
His contributions to date include new cost and management controls, a revised sales strategy focusing on core product offerings, and a new three-year strategic plan that includes expansion into foodservice and club channels. He has also played a critical role in encouraging and shaping renewed marketing investments, including a high-profile RV campaign featuring legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk, as well as supporting an ongoing series of promotions using Jones Soda labels as a canvas for personal expression to reinforce the company’s heritage as the people’s craft soda.
“Mark hit the ground running when he was hired as a consultant and has proven to be instrumental in the early days of our turnaround strategy,” said Mick Fleming, chairman of the board for Jones Soda. “His experience, guidance and vision have helped us streamline costs, improve almost every aspect of operations, raise brand awareness and build strong momentum, even in the midst of a pandemic. Considering what he has accomplished in just a few months, having Mark at the helm positions the company to achieve sustainable, profitable growth in the months and years ahead.”
Murray, like Colbourne, came to Jones from JGC Foods, a 600-employee North American food manufacturer specializing in fresh soups, sauces, sides and entrees. In his six years with JGC, including four as VP of sales and marketing, Murray created and implemented a broad range of strategic initiatives that nearly tripled company sales, developed new channels, achieved significant cost savings and led to the acquisition of JGC by a capital fund.
Earlier in his career, Murray held various senior sales and marketing positions for CPG and foodservice brands, including Harry’s Fresh Foods, SOLO Cup Co., Campbell’s and Kraft Heinz Foodservice.
“Jones is a strong brand that has two key assets: a unique brand personality and a 25-year foothold in the growing craft soda market,” Murray said. “We’ve had early successes already, and I fully expect our performance to continue improving as we execute our plan to return the business to growth and profitability.”
Murray’s appointment as Jones Soda CEO took effect Dec. 1.