SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum to step down, serve as chairman

Birnbaum, who recently led the Israeli company to a $3.2 billion acquisition by American food and beverage giant PepsiCo, will now serve as chairman of the company.

July 16, 2019 05:07
2 minute read.
SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum to step down, serve as chairman

Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream, speaks during a meeting with Ramon Laguarta, Elected Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, (not seen) in Tel Aviv, Israel, August 20, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS)

After 12 years as SodaStream chief executive, Daniel Birnbaum has announced he will step down from the helm of the Israeli carbonated drink-maker on September 1.

After recently leading the company to a $3.2 billion acquisition by PepsiCo, Birnbaum will now serve as chairman of the company. He will be succeeded by Eyal Shohat, 45, who has served as deputy CEO for the last two years. Shohat will assume the role on August 1, allowing for a month-long transition.

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum (L) with deputy CEO Eyal Shohat (Credit: PR)

“Following 12 amazing years with you all, and upon completion of the first year of integration with PepsiCo, I’ve decided to step back from the day-to-day operations at SodaStream,” Birnbaum wrote in a letter to employees. “Although this is by no means ‘goodbye,’ it is a significant milestone in my life and one for me to reflect upon. Looking back at the past 12 years, we have accomplished so very much together.”

Birnbaum said he was “honored and delighted” to continue as company chairman, after being offered the position by PepsiCo CEO and chairman Ramon Luis Laguarta.

He told employees of his pride at creating jobs for 3,500 families, proving that “peace is possible” between Israelis and Palestinians, and saving the world from billions of plastic bottles.

“We got acquired by PepsiCo, a historical event for the State of Israel,” said Birnbaum. “But no less important, we celebrated holidays, prayed side by side, made friendships that span religions, nations and continents, and we became a family. And family is forever.”

Since joining the company in 2010, Shohat has served as SodaStream’s chief legal officer, chief corporate development officer, and deputy CEO. He previously served as vice president of legal affairs at Haifa-headquartered Frutarom Industries.

“I am honored to receive the baton from Daniel, and look forward to continuing to work with him in his new capacity as chairman,” said Shohat. “I am also humbled to take on responsibility for this great company and our thousands of employees and their families worldwide. Under Daniel’s lead, SodaStream became a phenomenal success, and I thank him for the opportunity and trust. SodaStream will continue to be an island of peace and fight for an end to plastic waste.”

New York-headquartered PepsiCo completed its multi-billion dollar acquisition of SodaStream in December as part of its “performance with purpose” strategy, linking the success of PepsiCo to global sustainability.

Laguarta told investors last week that since the acquisition, SodaStream is recording faster growth than expected, and would continue to operate as a separate business.

“It’s exceeding our expectations in terms of the growth potential and growth execution,” he said. “So we’re feeling good, we’re understanding more about this platform.”

Announcing the proposed acquisition in August, Laguarta said SodaStream would continue to be based in Israel for at least 15 years, if not indefinitely. PepsiCo added it was planning to open a further manufacturing facility in Israel, in addition to the SodaStream plant in Lehavim, following the closure of the deal.

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