Kona Grill and Jamba Juice name new execs

Kona Grill and Jamba Juice name new execs
Staff Writer

Kona Grill Inc. and Jamba Inc. have both named new top-level executives.

Kona Grill promoted Christi Hing to chief financial officer, the company said Thursday. She formerly served as vice president and controller at the 23-unit casual-dining grill-and-sushi chain.

Jamba Inc., operator and franchisor of the quick-service Jamba Juice smoothie chain, has appointed Julie S. Washington chief brand officer and Susan Shields chief innovation officer, the company said.

Hing succeeds former chief financial officer Mark Robinow at Kona.

"Throughout her career, Christi has demonstrated her talent by leading finance teams in multiple areas, and made impressive contributions along the way," said Berke Bakay, president and chief executive of the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Kona Grill. "Over the past six years at Kona Grill she has assumed an increasing level of financial responsibility and has thrived."

Before her work at Kona Grill, Hing was manager of financial reporting for American Express and served in a variety of roles, including audit manager, at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Hing is a certified public accountant.

Washington formerly served as Jamba’s senior vice president and general manager of consumer products. She will guide the company’s Global Consumer Products platform, including Talbott Teas, which Jamba recently acquired.

Shields will lead Jamba’s product innovation, particularly in the fresh juice and juicing categories. She also will support international marketing efforts.

“As we previously pointed out in our 2012 ‘BLEND’ Plan 2.0, we are focused making Jamba top-of-mind with consumers by sharpening and simplifying our marketing programs to better clarify value and relevancy of the Jamba brand,” said James D. White, Jamba Inc. chairman, president and chief executive.

“We look to utilize Julie’s unique background in consumer products, brand building, field marketing and franchise partnerships to lead the Jamba team in those areas,” he said. “We also look to leverage Susan’s wealth of knowledge and expertise in product management and innovation. We are very excited about this alignment, which will allow us to optimize the performance across the entire team and accelerate growth for 2012 and beyond.”

The two positions are newly created, a company spokesperson said.

Emeryville, Calif.-based Jamba Inc. owns or franchises 750 U.S. locations, and has 19 international units.

Editor's note: This story adds information about the two Jamba Inc. positions.

Contact Marcella Veneziale at marcella.veneziale@penton.com.

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