Lugar To Succeed Neely At The Helm Of The American Beverage Association

American Beverage Association logo

Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), will join the American Beverage Association (ABA) as its new president and CEO later this year. Lugar will succeed Susan K. Neely, who has led ABA for 13 years. Neely was named president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) in May.

“I’m honored to join ABA and advocate on behalf of its members, including iconic brands like The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo,” said Lugar. “As a mother, I know how important it is for consumers to have choices as they balance their families’ nutrition and activity. These companies have shown real leadership and set their competitive differences aside to strengthen our communities and support families nationwide. Building on Susan Neely’s outstanding leadership and results over the past 13 years, I look forward to leading the ABA team as we continue to be an important part of the solution when it comes to consumer choice and public health.”

Lugar will leverage her public policy and advocacy experience on behalf of ABA and its member companies. As president and CEO of AHLA, Lugar transformed the lodging industry’s largest association in her five-year tenure, says ABA, tripling revenue and membership, strengthening the association’s core mission on advocacy, and championing the industry’s voice with policymakers.

Lugar previously served as the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s (RILA) EVP of public affairs, where she ran a number of high-profile issue campaigns. Prior to RILA, Lugar led government relations for Travelers Insurance, served as VP of legislative and political affairs at the National Retail Federation (NRF) and worked on Capitol Hill. She currently is chair-elect of the board of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for pediatric cancer, a member of the executive committee of the Bryce Harlow Foundation and a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100. 

“On behalf of the board, I am so pleased to congratulate and welcome Katherine as the new ABA president and CEO,” said Jeff Honickman, chair of ABA’s board of directors and CEO of Pepsi-Cola & National Brand Beverages Ltd. “Katherine is a dynamic leader who brings deep knowledge and experience in public policy and issue advocacy. I know ABA and its member companies will benefit from Katherine’s management, and she will continue to build on the successful foundation that Susan and the ABA team have established on behalf of our industry and consumers.” 

“Katherine is a powerhouse in Washington, and she understands how to communicate and execute public policy strategies on behalf of high-profile brands,” said Neely. “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. Under Katherine’s leadership, I’m confident ABA and its member companies will keep working together to make a real difference for American families.”


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About The Author

A word nerd, grocery geek and three-year member of The Shelby Report. She is a proud new homeowner and a great lover of avocado toast.