James S. Tonkin, a senior beverage marketing executive, has formally announced his departure as chief executive from Essentia Water, Inc.
He was at the helm of the company since early 1998, when he signed a consulting agreement to take the fledgling bottled water startup into distribution. He developed an excellent marketing and distribution template over three years propelling the company into the No. 2 brand position in the natural and health segments, nationally (SPINs 2001).
"The company has been struggling for a long time, trying to extricate itself from a troubled public parent company. Due to growing competitive conditions, economic pressures relating to the dot com collapse and a tightening of the equity markets, Essentia found it implausible to raise sufficient capital to continue its national marketing and distribution efforts," Tonkin said.
Tonkin left to pursue other opportunities and is saddened by his departure.
"I gave my all to Essentia and feel badly that we could not achieve our long term objective(s). The concept of functional water, highly purified, with elevated pH levels and health/nutritional benefits, was certainly at the forefront of the burgeoning bottled water business,? He said.
"I plan to stay in a leadership role to develop products like Essentia ongoing, as the focus on innovation, ingenuity and niche marketing are my passions. Even now, as Coke and Pepsi have seen the light of the segment, we marketers have finally seen our efforts appreciated and soon copied," Tonkin boasted.
Tonkin has made many friends and business associations over his almost 30 years in the industry and looks forward to reappearing soon again to work with many of those individuals, companies and friends.
"The industry is a small one...and one gets to know the players quickly and well in short order...it also is an incestuous business with lots of personnel shifts and corporate posturing. With mergers and acquisitions so prevalent today, clearly the strong will survive and the weak will merge, be acquired or wither," Tonkin predicted.