Califia Farms expands leadership team

by Monica Watrous
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Demir Vangelov, Califia Farms
Demir Vangelov has joined Califia Farms as chief financial officer.

LOS ANGELES — Califia Farms, a maker of ready-to-drink coffee and plant-based beverages, has announced four new additions to its leadership team to support double-digit growth and expand the brand into new distribution channels.

Karen Gifford, Califia Farms

Karen Gifford has been tapped for the newly created position of chief people officer of Califia Farms. She brings more than 25 years of management and consulting experience to the role, having most recently served as vice-president of people at Virgin Galactic.

Jim Whitaker, Califia Farms

Jim Whitaker has been named vice-president of sales, immediate consumption, with responsibility for leading the brand’s growth in the convenience store, drug store and food service categories. He joins the company from Bolthouse Farms and has previous experience at PepsiCo and Sara Lee Coffee.

Demir Vangelov joins the company as chief financial officer. He previously held the same position at Oberto Brands and NBC News Digital.

Vilma Livas, Califia Farms

Vilma Livas has been named vice-president of marketing, with responsibility for strengthening the company’s brand identity and category leadership. Previously, she held the same role at Dogswell, a premium pet food company, and worked at Nestle USA as creamer category brand manager for Coffeemate.

“Califia is on a mission to transform food and beverage at the consumer and retail level, while contributing to a more sustainable planet,” said Greg Steltenpohl, founder and chief executive officer of Califia Farms. “This mission can only succeed if passionate people across every department and level of our organization are empowered to build a brand and business that fulfills this mission.” 
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