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Beverage Association
 taps Lugar from AHLA
 as group’s new CEO

Katherine Lugar, CEO of AH&LA, replaces Susan Neely, now at ACLI


Sept. 4, 2018
By William Ehart

The $125 million-revenue American Beverage Association today named Katherine Lugar CEO, succeeding Susan Neely, who (also today) is beginning her tenure as chief executive of the $43 million-revenue American Council of Life Insurers.

Lugar, CEO of the $33 million-revenue American Hotel & Lodging Association since 2013, will join ABA later this year, according to an ABA statement.

Like Neely, Lugar is emphasizing that beverage companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Keurig Dr Pepper can be part of the solution to public health issues such as obesity.

“As a mother, I know how important it is for consumers to have choices as they balance their families' nutrition and activity,” Lugar said in the statement. “These companies have shown real leadership and set their competitive differences aside to strengthen our communities and support families nationwide.”

Neely, ABA CEO for 13 years, cited Lugar’s abilities and experience advocating for industry.

“Katherine is a powerhouse in Washington, and she understands how to communicate and execute public policy strategies on behalf of high-profile brands,” Neely said in the statement. “Her experience leading federal, state and local advocacy campaigns, coupled with her deep understanding of complex industries, makes her uniquely positioned to lead ABA forward.”

Prior to joining AHLA, Lugar was executive vice president of public affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association. Her previous lobbying experience includes Travelers Insurance and the National Retail Federation.

Neely’s compensation at ABA was $1.7 million in 2016, according to the latest available tax filings. Lugar’s AHLA compensation was $793,000 that year.

Executive search consultant Leslie Hortum of Spencer Stuart assisted in the search.