After an eventful (and sometimes challenging) year for Soylent, co-founder Rob Rhinehart announced today that he will resign as the meal replacement shake company’s chief executive officer. That position will be taken over by Bryan Crowley, the president of Soylent’s parent company Rosa Foods.
In his post, Rhinehart said that since Soylent is no longer in the early startup stage, he “decided to pass the reins to a new CEO with more management and industry experience.” Crowley joined Rosa Foods in June after twenty years working in the food industry, most recently as chief strategy officer at kombucha maker KeVita, which was acquired by PepsiCo in December 2016.
Rhinehart, who will continue as Soylent’s executive chairman and largest shareholder, added that Crowley “has been Soylent’s president for the better part of a year and has already had an untold positive impact improving our distribution, marketing, supply chain, product and organization—all the things a good CEO should do. We have put in place a three-year roadmap for the business, and I have completely confidence in the leadership’s team ability to execute it.”
Soylent has raised about $74.5 million in funding, including a $50 million Series B round led by GV that closed earlier this year. Mocked as an example of Silicon Valley’s obsession with lifehacking when it was founded in 2013, Soylent has nonetheless managed to go mainstream. It is now the bestseller in Amazon’s meal replacement drink category and began a distribution deal with 7-Eleven in July.
But it’s also faced several setbacks recently. In fall 2016, Soylent halted production of Soylent Powder and Soylent Bars after its products made some customers ill, then began shipping again after reformulating its powder. Soylent was dealt another blow in October when Canada’s food safety agency said its products failed to meet all requirements for meal replacements, forcing it to stop sales in the country until the issue is resolved.
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