Leading Brands, Inc. Forms Leading Brands of America, Inc., Hires Former SoBe Senior Management to Spearhead US Expansion and Opens US Head Office in Stamford, Connecticut
VANCOUVER, CANADA - February 12, 2002 - LEADING BRANDS, INC. LBIX, Canada's largest independent, fully integrated food and beverage brand management company, is pleased to announce that it has hired Howard E. Wishner and Bob Miller, formerly senior management of SoBe Beverage Company, to spearhead the Company's US expansion.
Mr. Miller will join the Company as President of Leading Brands of America, Inc. (LBAI). Mr. Wishner will become Executive Vice-President of Marketing and Chief of Corporate Communication of Leading Brands, Inc. and Chief Marketing Officer of LBAI.
Howard Wishner's marketing and public relations experience reads like a Who's Who when it comes to brand building in the US and abroad. Companies include Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, Pepsi, SoBe, Perdue Farms, General Foods, Borden's, General Motors, Chrysler Corporation and Colgate Palmolive just to name a few, in addition to an extensive knowledge of both sports and entertainment. Specifically, at SoBe he was the architect of the trade, consumer, and business to business communications plan in addition to developing integrated programs to support marketing and sales.
Mr. Miller, as the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at SoBe, built the entire distribution network which accounted for sales of $225,000,000 in 2000 and enabled the company to sell to Pepsi for $370,000,000 in 2001. Prior to SoBe he was the driving sales force behind Mistic Beverages, building a strong distribution network and sales force. Sales in 1995 were $130,000,000 and at the end of the year was sold to Triarc Beverages for $96,000,000.
Leading Brands Chairman and CEO Ralph D. McRae said: "We have worked with Howard and Bob since 1999 while they were with SoBe. Our company is extremely fortunate to be able to attract people of this caliber and reputation within the North American beverage industry. Their past experience, entrepreneurial mindset and successes will greatly accelerate the introduction of our products into the United States market, which is 20 times larger than Canada. Our trademark Integrated Distribution System will back up their sales and marketing efforts to timely provide our new US customers with the best quality products at the lowest possible cost.
"In addition to establishing a distribution network for Leading Brands products, LBAI will also make its resources available to license unique beverage products from third parties, in much the same way that we have done that successfully in Canada over the past several years. This is a major step forward for Leading Brands and I am proud to be able to once again work with these fine men."
Mr. Wishner added: "We are extremely excited about the existing and new products that Leading Brands has in its pipeline. They are innovative and hit at the heart of the rapidly growing 'healthy reality' beverage category. I have been astounded by the positive response I have seen with their new Pez(R) Juice Drinks line and I am very happy to be part of such a dynamic company. Furthermore, I am looking forward to help open up the US operation with my colleague Bob Miller."
Mr. Miller concluded: "Our goal is to offer to our customers and the consumer a unique lineup of beverage products that leads the healthy reality beverage category. My first priority is to build our team and establish a distribution network across the US to move our products. I see no reason why we cannot with the resources of Leading Brands behind us, repeat our earlier success, especially with Howard heading up marketing and public relations."
About Leading Brands, Inc.
Leading Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:LBIX) is North America’s only fully integrated premium beverage company. The Company’s unique Integrated Distribution System (IDS) ™ offers turnkey, one-stop shopping to food and beverage brand owners, including manufacturing, distribution, sales/marketing and licensing. In addition, Leading Brands produces their own line of beverages such as TrueBlue®, LiteBlue®, TREK® Natural Sports Drinks, NITRO® Energy Drinks, INFINITY® Health Water™, Country Harvest® Juices, and Caesar’s® Cocktails.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain information contained in this press release includes forward-looking statements. Words such as “believe”, “expect,” “will,” or comparable terms, are intended to identify forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s expectations, beliefs, intentions, plans, objectives, future events or performance and other developments. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on information available to the Company on the date hereof. Such statements speak only as of the date hereof. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s estimations and projections are disclosed in the Company’s securities filings and include, but are not limited to, the following: general economic conditions, weather conditions, changing beverage consumption trends, pricing, availability of raw materials, economic uncertainties (including currency exchange rates), government regulation, managing and maintaining growth, the effect of adverse publicity, litigation, competition and other risk factors described from time to time in securities reports filed by Leading Brands, Inc.