Guayakí, a maker of yerba mate beverages, announced that Stefan Kozak will be its new CEO, taking over for one of the company's founders Chris Mann, who will move to its board of directors. Kozak is the former CEO of Red Bull North America. Under his leadership, it grew to become the second-largest non-alcoholic beverage brand in the United States.
For more than 25 years, Guayakí has been a leader in sustainable business practices, powered by its Market Driven Regeneration (™) model, which is centered around developing long-term partnerships with Indigenous communities and small farmers to harvest yerba mate from the rainforest and forested farmland at fair trade prices. Guayakí Yerba Mate purchases fund their economic sovereignty and land stewardship, which prevents further deforestation of critical forests under threat from political and economic forces.
Kozak worked at Red Bull for 16 years where he drove growth in the company. Prior to working at Red Bull, he was the general manager of a Coca-Cola bottling operation near Sao Paulo before being promoted to chief operating officer of Brazil's then largest bottler. Originally an engineer, prior to entering the beverage business he led a small hydropower project in Nepal to fight deforestation in the Himalayas. Together with a small team of Sherpas, he built a power network to bring electricity to this remote area. The operating company he set up, Khumbu Bijuli, is what keeps the lights on and the stoves hot for the locals as well as people trekking to the Mount Everest region to this day.
Guayakí is a founding member of the B Corporation network, which requires the business to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.