NEW YORK — A new senior leadership team has been appointed to lead hot sauce producer and maker Cholula’s next phase of growth.
Maura Mottolese has been named chief executive officer. Ms. Mottolese has more than 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. Most recently, she was c.e.o. at Tate’s Bake Shop, where she oversaw the brand’s sale to Mondelez in 2018. Before that, she was president at The Switch Beverage Co. She was previously vice-president of marketing at Snapple Beverage Group and vice-president of marketing at Cadbury Schweppes after its acquisition by Snapple in 2000.
Ms. Mottolese is joining Cholula alongside Mike Nathenson, who has been named chief financial officer. Miguel Leal, David Yarmoff and Clay Lichterman round out the newly appointed senior leadership team as chief marketing officer, senior vice-president of operations and vice-president of food service sales, respectively.
Mr. Nathenson joins Cholula from Blue Buffalo, where he oversaw the brand’s i.p.o. growth and eventual sale to General Mills. Mr. Nathenson held leadership roles across the industry after beginning his career as a product development engineer at Proctor & Gamble. He worked for PepsiCo for 14 years, where he held several positions, including senior vice-president, investor relations and vice-president, financial planning and analysis. Mr. Nathenson also held leadership roles at Dean Foods, where he was senior-vice president and chief financial officer, Fresh Dairy Direct Division, and senior vice-president and chief financial officer, Dean Foods Dairy Group.
Before joining Cholula’s team, newly appointed chief marketing officer Miguel Leal was executive vice-president, head of marketing, at Kind, where he helped negotiate an investment by Mars. Before that, he held several leadership roles at Diamond Foods, including senior vice-president, chief marketing officer and vice-president, GM Snack Business Unit. He also was director of shopper marketing at The Dannon Co. and brand manager for Lay’s at Frito-Lay North America.
Senior vice-president of operations David Yarmoff brings experience in operations, supply chain, finance, I.T. and sales in the beverage industry to Cholula’s leadership team. Most recently, Mr. Yarmoff was senior-vice president, co-pack corporate development at beverage manufacturer Lassonde Pappas. Previously, he was senior vice-president, operations and procurement at the Switch Beverage Company, director of operations strategy at Cadbury Schweppes and vice-president, product commercialization and director, supply chain at Snapple Beverage Group.
Mr. Lichterman, Cholula’s new vice-president of food service sales, was most recently director, immediate consumption, at Talking Rain Beverage Co. Before that, he was regional manager of food service at the Switch Beverage Company, Apple & Eve and Spindrift Beverage.
The announcement of Cholula’s new senior leadership teams comes after the brand’s acquisition by private equity firm L Catterton in April. Launched in the United States in 1989, Cholula offers six varieties of hot sauce made from a blend of piquin and arbol peppers.
“Cholula is a beloved and powerful brand, and I'm thrilled to join the company at this exciting time in its evolution,” Ms. Mottolese said. “I have tremendous respect for Cholula's authenticity and heritage, and I see enormous potential for growth in the years to come. I look forward to working alongside the exceptional leadership team we have assembled to realize the significant opportunity inherent in this unique and iconic brand.”