USA – The American Beverage Association (ABA), America’s non-alcoholic beverage industry lobby group, has appointed Kevin Keane as its new president and chief executive officer.

Keane has served on the leadership team of American Beverage for nearly 20 years and has overseen a wide range of industry initiatives while managing a team in Washington, D.C., and in states across the country.

He has served as interim president and CEO basis since his predecessor, Katherine Lugar, departed in March for Hilton as executive vice president of corporate affairs.

“Kevin has an exceptional depth of knowledge and experience to bring to bear in this role,” Matthew Dent, American Beverages chair and the CEO of Buffalo Rock Company, a longtime Pepsi bottler in Alabama.

Prior to his appointment as president and CEO, Keane served as executive vice president of the association’s Government and public affairs department.

He has also previously worked as the assistant secretary for public affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Matthew Dent, chair of American Beverage’s board of directors, pointed out that Keane has an “exceptional depth of knowledge and experience” to bring to the role.

Throughout his time at American Beverage we have made great strides in areas Americans care about, including improving our environmental sustainability practices, promoting balanced lifestyles, and advancing our broader leadership efforts,” he added.

Commenting on his appointment, Keane said: “Having worked in the beverage industry for nearly 20 years, I know how hard our companies strive to be a unifying force in helping address public policy issues that people care about in ways that matter to them.”

“Their unwavering commitment to better way solutions to tough challenges delivers meaningful results that lift communities and bring people together.”

Keane’s tenure has started on a high note defending the non-alcoholic beverage industry in the ongoing controversial debate about aspartame.

“Aspartame is safe. After a rigorous review, the World Health Organization finds aspartame is safe and has no sufficient reason to change the previously established acceptable daily intake,” he said.

“This strong conclusion reinforces the position of the FDA and food safety agencies from more than 90 countries. People all around the world can be confident in consuming food and beverages with aspartame.”

The Association said in a statement that people around the world can continue to be confident in consuming food and beverages that contain aspartame.

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