Last year, Stone Brewing CEO Greg Koch, the more outspoken of the two founders of the country’s tenth largest craft-brewery, announced the company was embarking on a search for a new chief executive officer. At the time, he cited the need to find a CEO with qualifications greater than his and experience to help grow a company that is worlds larger than when he and president (and original brewmaster) Steve Wagner went into business in 1996. After nearly a year of interviewing candidates, Stone has selected Dominic Engels as its new CEO.
Engels’s most recent experience includes more than 11 years with The Wonderful Company, culminating in his role as president of POM Wonderful. While with that organization, he held several leadership positions, which included time spent living and working abroad in Waterloo, Belgium, while running European and Middle East operations for POM and Wonderful Pistachios. Before that, he was global head of marketing for Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds and, prior to Wonderful, Engel worked in the golf industry, management consulting and retail. He has no beer-industry experience.
Once Engels is on-board (his first day will be September 6), Koch says he will be “heading upstairs”. Translation: he is being promoted to the role of “executive chairman”. The specifics about this newly established box on Stone’s organizational chart have yet to be disclosed, however, Koch has stated on numerous occasions that he plans to be more removed from operations, particularly the business’ day-to-day. This would seem consistent with a slow distancing that has taken place over the past year-plus as the company nears completion of its Berlin brewery and restaurant. Koch has spent a great deal of time fostering that project in Europe while also making periodic visits to Stone’s new Richmond, Va.-based East Coast brewery.