Sebastopol, CA-based Guayakí Yerba Mate, a maker of yerba mate beverages, appointed Stefan Kozak as its new chief executive. He succeeds a company founder, Chris Mann, who will move to Guayaki’s board of directors.
Kozak is the former chief executive of Red Bull North America. Under his leadership, Red Bull grew to become the second-largest non-alcoholic beverage brand in the United States. He worked there for 16 years, before departing last year.
Founded in 1996, Guayakí [gwy-uh-key] is a pioneer in the yerba mate category dedicated to restoring the environment and driving social change. Its products are sold at more than 10,000 retail locations.
Yerba mate or yerba-maté is a plant species of the holly genus Ilex native to South America. Guayakí’s organic, fair-trade certified yerba mate beverages are said to contain a wealth of nutrients, and naturally stimulate the mind and body.
“I am thrilled to be joining Guayakí Yerba Mate, a product I love and a company that aligns with my experience, skills, and most importantly, values,” Kozak said. “Given the state of the planet and Guayakí’s longstanding commitment to sustainability and social good, I can’t imagine a better and more meaningful place to work.”
Guayakí’s sustainable business is powered by its proprietary Market Driven Regeneration model, based on long-term partnerships with Indigenous communities and small farmers to harvest yerba mate from the rainforest and forested farmland at fair trade prices.