The American Beverage Association (ABA) announced that Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), will join ABA as its new president and CEO later this year. Lugar will succeed Susan K. Neely, who successfully led ABA for 13 years. Neely was named president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) in May 2018.
Lugar will leverage deep public policy and advocacy experience on behalf of ABA and its member companies, which make and sell some of the world’s most popular and innovative non-alcoholic beverages. As president and CEO of AHLA, Lugar transformed the lodging industry’s largest association in her five-year tenure, tripling revenue and membership, strengthening the association’s core mission on advocacy, championing the industry’s voice with policymakers and achieving historic highs for the industry political action committee (PAC) placing it in the top two percent of all association PACs.
Lugar previously served as the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s (RILA) executive vice president of public affairs, where she ran a number of successful, high-profile issue campaigns. Prior to RILA, Lugar led government relations for Travelers Insurance, served as vice president 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.
The non-alcoholic beverage industry employs more than 250,000 people with a direct economic impact of more than $182.6 billion. The industry manufactures a variety of beverage choices in a wide range of calories and package sizes, including bottled water, 100 percent juice, juice drinks, sports drinks, soft drinks, ready-to-drink teas and energy drinks.