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Lifeway Foods Inc (LWAY.OQ)

LWAY.OQ on NASDAQ Stock Exchange Global Market

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18 Apr 2019
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Summary

Name Age Since Current Position

Ludmila Smolyansky

68 2002 Chairman of the Board

Julie Smolyansky

43 2004 President, Chief Executive Officer, Director

Eric Hanson

43 2018 Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Controller

Edward Smolyansky

38 2016 Chief Operating Officer, Treasurer, Secretary, Director

Amy Feldman

43 2018 Senior Executive Vice President - Sales

Douglas Hass

42 2016 General Counsel, Assistant Corporate Secretary

Renzo Bernardi

80 1994 Independent Director

Laurent Marcel

46 2018 Independent Director

Jason Scher

43 2012 Independent Director

George Sent

47 2019 Independent Director

Pol Sikar

70 1986 Independent Director

Biographies

Name Description

Ludmila Smolyansky

Mrs. Ludmila Smolyansky serves as Chairman of the Board of Lifeway Foods Inc. She appointed as a Director by the Board to fill a vacancy created by an increase of the maximum number of Directors up to seven and unanimously elected as the Chairperson of the Board in November 2002. Mrs. Smolyansky has been the operator of several independent delicatessen and gourmet food distributorship businesses, and imported food distributorships. Mrs. Smolyansky and Michael Smolyansky founded Lifeway and Mrs. Smolyansky served as our General Manager. In 2010, Mrs. Smolyansky retired as a Lifeway employee and has continued to serve Lifeway as its Chairperson of the Board since 2002 and as a consultant since 2011. Mrs. Smolyansky holds no other directorships in any other reporting company. Mrs. Smolyansky is the mother of Julie Smolyansky (the President, Chief Executive Officer, and a Director of the Company) and Edward Smolyansky (the Chief Operating Officer, Treasurer, Secretary, and a Director of the Company). Mrs. Smolyansky brings many years of food industry experience, historical perspective, and operational expertise to the Board.

Julie Smolyansky

Ms. Julie Smolyansky serves as a President, Chief Executive Officer, Director of Lifeway Foods Inc. She is a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Smolyansky spent six years as Lifeway’s Director of Sales and Marketing. Ms. Smolyansky also served as Lifeway’s Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer from 2002 to 2004. She holds no other directorships in any other reporting company. Ms. Smolyansky is the daughter of Ludmila Smolyansky (the Chairperson of the Board), and brother of Edward Smolyansky (the Chief Operating Officer, Treasurer, Secretary, and a Director of the Company). The significant knowledge base and operational expertise she has acquired by serving the Company as a senior executive for over twenty years qualify her to continue to serve on the Board. Ms. Smolyansky’s family maintains a controlling interest in the Company, and the Board believes it is appropriate to provide for continuity of the representation of the Smolyansky family on the Board as a component of our succession planning strategy.

Eric Hanson

Mr. Eric A. Hanson is Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Controller of the Company. Mr. Hanson has served as our Chief Accounting Officer since May 2018, and as our Corporate Controller since July 2016. He also served as our interim Chief Financial Officer from May 2018 through August 2018. Prior to joining Lifeway, he served as Director of External Reporting for CPG International LLC in Skokie, Illinois from October 2014 through July 2016; and as Audit Manager for Deloitte & Touche, LLP in Chicago, Illinois from November 2012 through September 2014. He also held various senior financial positions with Crowe Horwath from 2003 through 2012, and has over 20 years of financial reporting experience. Mr. Hanson holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Illinois.

Edward Smolyansky

Mr. Edward P. Smolyansky serves as a Chief Operating Officer, Treasurer, Secretary, Director of the Company. Mr. Smolyansky was appointed as Chief Financial and Accounting Officer and Treasurer of Lifeway in November 2004 and appointed as the Chief Operating Officer and Secretary in 2012. He resigned his titles as Chief Financial Officer on January 1, 2016 and as Chief Accounting Officer on August 8, 2016. He also served as Lifeway’s Controller from June 2002 until 2004. He received his bacherlor’s degree in finance from Loyola University of Chicago in December 2001. He holds no other directorships in any other reporting company. Mr. Smolyansky is the brother of President and CEO Julie Smolyansky and the son of Lifeway’s Chairperson of the Board Ludmila Smolyansky. Mr. Smolyansky’s role, and knowledge acquired, serving the Company in a senior executive capacity since 2002 qualify him to continue to serve on the Board. Mr. Smolyansky’s family maintains a controlling interest in the Company, and the Board believes it is appropriate to provide for continuity of the representation of the Smolyansky family on the Board as a component of our succession planning strategy.

Amy Feldman

Ms. Amy Feldman is Senior Executive Vice President - Sales of the Company. Amy has spent over 20 years in the food industry building business, brands, and teams, specifically within the Fresh and Natural Foods arena. She brings a unique global view of the industry to Lifeway, which includes time spent on multiple sides of the business including working as a retailer, broker, distributor, and several high growth food brands selling across all channels of trade. Most recently from 2017-2018, Amy served as the Executive Vice President of Sales at Next Phase Enterprises, a club and mass channel food sales firm. From 2015 through 2017, Ms. Feldman was Vice President of Sales, Channel Development for Mondelez International's Enjoy Life Foods subsidiary where she was responsible for developing strategy and introducing the brand through various trade channels such as Foodservice, E-commerce, Small Format, and International. Prior to joining Enjoy Life, Amy was the Vice President of Sales, Independent Grocery Channel for Chicago-based KeHE Distributors from 2011-2015. Amy began her career at Sara Lee and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration in Food Marketing from Western Michigan University, an MBA from Golden Gate University, and a Culinary Certificate from Kendall College.

Douglas Hass

Mr. Douglas A.(Doug) Hass serves as a General Counsel, Assistant Corporate Secretary of the Company. He has more than twenty years of legal, management, and operations experience, centered on technology-intensive businesses. He joined Lifeway as Legal Counsel in March 2016 from international law firm DLA Piper LLP (US) and became General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary on November 7, 2016. From 2009 through 2016, in private practice, Mr. Hass advised and represented a wide range of federal and state government and public and privately held clients on a variety of labor and employment, corporate, and technology/new media issues, as well as associated corporate law and litigation matters. From 1998 until 2006, Mr. Hass was Chief Operations Officer at ImageStream, a multinational telecommunications and Internet networking equipment manufacturer. Prior to 1998, Mr. Hass was Vice President and Partner at Skye/net, a major Midwest-based Internet service provider. He holds a Juris Doctor from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana.

Renzo Bernardi

Mr. Renzo Bernardi serves as an Independent Director of Lifeway Foods Inc. Mr. Bernardi is the president and founder of Renzo & Sons, Inc., a dairy and food service company which has been in business since 1969 (formerly, Renzo-Milk Distribution Systems). He has nearly 50 years of experience in the dairy distribution industry. Mr. Bernardi is a graduate of Instituto Tecnico E Commerciale of Macomer, Sardinia. Mr. Bernardi devotes as much time as necessary to the business of the Company and currently holds no other directorships in any other reporting company. Mr. Bernardi brings deep industry experience and a historical perspective to the Board.

Laurent Marcel

Mr. Laurent Marcel is Independent Director of the Company, since January 1, 2018. Mr. Marcel is a French citizen. He is a Director of Harmless Harvest, Inc. and Michel et Augustin, SAS and was formerly a Director of Danone North America Public Benefit Corporation. Mr. Marcel is serving as the interim CEO of Harmless Harvest, Inc. He is also a Director and President of Danone Manifesto Ventures, Inc. From 2011 to 2015, Mr. Marcel was Managing Director of Danone Nutricia India and then Managing Director of Danone India in Mumbai, where he oversaw the integration of a leading company in the Indian baby food market as well as the reorganization of Danone’s activities in India. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Marcel was the CFO of Danone Dairy Russia & CIS in Moscow, where he oversaw the acquisition of Unimilk, a large Russian dairy company, and from 2010 to 2011 he served as the CFO of Danone Unimilk and the head of integration. Mr. Marcel joined Danone as a finance manager in 2002 in Paris, and in 2004 he became the CFO of Danone Aqua Indonesia (Danone’s water business in Indonesia) in Jakarta. Each of the above Danone entities are affiliated with Danone North America Public Benefit Corporation. Mr. Marcel graduated from HEC and Paris Law School in 1994, and he started his career practicing law in Paris and New York with a focus in mergers & acquisitions and private equity. Mr. Marcel devotes as much time as necessary to the business of the Company and currently holds no other directorships in any other reporting company.

Jason Scher

Mr. Jason Scher serves as an Independent Director of Lifeway Foods, Inc., since July 2012. Since 2016, he has been advising and consulting for several real estate development, hospitality, and consumer packaged goods companies in Chicago and California. From 2004 until 2016, Mr. Scher was the Chief Operating Officer of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, a leading manufacturer and seller of super premium chocolate confections in the U.S. Additionally, he is currently a Managing Member of South Shore Developers Group, a real estate development company focused on affordable housing in the Chicago area. From 2000 to 2004, Mr. Scher served as a principal in RP3 Development, a New York based construction management and development company that performed work nationwide. Mr. Scher started his career with XandO coffee bar/COSI Sandwich Bar in their real estate and construction group. His strong leadership has been instrumental in the growth and development of the businesses that he worked in over the years. Mr. Scher devotes as much time as necessary to Lifeway’s business and currently holds no other directorships in any other reporting company. Mr. Scher brings manufacturing, financial, and strategic experience to the Company’s board of directors.

George Sent

Mr. George Sent is Independent Director of the Company. He was appointed as a Lifeway director effective January 11, 2019. Since 2018, Mr. Sent has been a Managing Director at Cascadia Capital focused on client relationships in the food, beverage, and agricultural sectors. His practice is focused on mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations, restructurings and equity private placements. He joined Cascadia Capital from KeyBank Capital Markets, where from 2013 through 2018 he was the Head of Food & Beverage Mergers and Acquisitions, including sell-side, buy-side and strategic advisory assignments. From 2010 through 2013, Mr. Sent was an Executive Director – Consumer and Investment Retail Banker with Lazard. He also spent three years as Head of Corporate Finance and Investor Relations at The J.M. Smucker Company, and as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs. Mr. Sent holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati, where he graduated in 1993 cum laude and Beta Gamma Sigma. He became a Certified Public Accountant in 2002. He also earned an M.B.A. from Cornell University in 2001, where he was a Johnson School Finance Fellow. He is on the Advisory Board of Magic Leap, Inc., and he is also on the Food Science Advisory Council at Cornell University.

Pol Sikar

Mr. Pol Sikar serves as Independent Director of Lifeway Foods Inc., since its inception, February 1986. He holds a master’s degree from the Odessa State Institute of Civil Engineering in Russia. For more than 40 years, he has been President and a major shareholder of Montrose Glass & Mirror Co., a company providing glass and mirror products to the wholesale and retail trade in the greater Chicago area. Mr. Sikar devotes as much time as necessary to the business of the Company and currently holds no other directorships in any other reporting company. Mr. Sikar brings a historical perspective to the Board along with executive and entrepreneurial experiences that provide Lifeway with insights into operational and strategic planning, and financial matters.

Basic Compensation