Head of National Restaraunt Assn. Steps Down, Takes CEO Role at Breakthru Beverage

Tom Bené brings more than 30 years of leadership experience to one of North America's leading beverage alcohol distributors.

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NEW YORK and CHICAGO — Breakthru Beverage Group, a North American total beverage alcohol distributor with operations across the United States and Canada, today announced the Board of Managers has appointed Tom Bené as President and CEO, effective October 4. As Breakthru's leader, Tom will advance the next phase of the company's evolution focusing on growth and expansion, accelerating technology and innovation and executing with excellence for supplier and customer partners.

BenéBenéDrawing on more than 30 years of leadership experience, Tom has a proven track record of driving growth and modernizing business models throughout his career. Most recently, Tom has served as President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. Previously, he served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sysco Corporation, the global leader in foodservice distribution. Prior to that, he served as President of PepsiCo's foodservice business.

Charles Merinoff, Co-Chairman of the Board of Managers, said, "We are thrilled to welcome Tom to Breakthru Beverage as our next President and CEO. Tom has a demonstrated history of leading organizations through periods of exceptional growth and innovation. His transparent, compassionate and inspirational leadership style struck us immediately, and we're excited for him to continue building Breakthru's culture of excellence and inclusivity."

As President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, Tom drove organizational and governance changes to improve overall engagement with its membership. In this important role, he worked with large national restaurant brands and local operators in the restaurant, foodservice and alcohol beverage industries to navigate the impact of Covid-19. While leading Sysco, Tom oversaw international expansion and numerous acquisitions, primarily of family-owned businesses, adding significant revenue to the top line. During Tom's tenure, the company grew sales to more than $60B across a variety of countries. Prior to joining Sysco in 2013, Tom spent 23 years at PepsiCo, serving in senior leadership roles including President of PepsiCo Foodservice and President of PepsiCo North American Beverages. Tom earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Kansas and is currently a member of the University of Kansas Business School Advisory Board. He previously served on the Board of the Women's Foodservice Forum and has been an active member of a variety of charitable organizations, including the United Way.

Bené said, "I'm very excited to join Breakthru at such an important time for the company. Breakthru's strong positioning in the marketplace provides a springboard to accelerate growth. I look forward to working with the Board of Managers and the company's talented leadership team and associates to capture the many opportunities ahead and exceed expectations for our suppliers and customers." 

To ensure a smooth transition, President and CEO Greg Baird will serve as an advisor to the company supporting Tom's transition through the end of the year. 

Breakthru Beverage Group is one of the leading alcohol wholesalers in the United States and the largest broker in Canada representing a full total beverage alcohol portfolio of spirits, wine and beer.