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Coca-Cola exec named CEO of WFF

Therese Gearhart takes over for Hattie Hill as head of the organization that champions women in the restaurant industry.
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Therese Gearhart, who has spent two decades as an executive with The Coca-Cola Co., is the new president and CEO of the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), the organization announced.

Gearhart takes over for Hattie Hill, who announced her retirement in March after heading the thought leadership group since 2013.

Former Red Robin CEO Denny Marie Post had served as interim CEO of WFF since June. She will continue to serve on the group’s board.

Gearhart is an international operations leader with global consumer marketing experience. With Coca-Cola, she led operations in 31 countries in the Caribbean, Central America and northern South America. For four years, she headed company operations in South Africa. She spent six years working within Coca-Cola’s North American foodservice business and was a co-chairwoman of the company’s Global Women’s Leadership Council.

Before joining Coca-Cola, Gearhart worked in management and marketing with Motorola Corp. and Black & Decker Corp.

"We are thrilled to have someone of Therese's caliber join us to lead WFF,” Salli Setta, president and chief concept officer for Red Lobster and current WFF board chairwoman, said in a statement. “Her longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, and her success in building diverse teams will be a great benefit to our organization. We are confident she is the right person to bring our strategy to life and lead WFF into the future."

Founded in 1989, the WFF provides research, insights and best practices to the food industry on issues of gender equity, career advancement and women in leadership. The WFF also partners with industry groups to create environments that foster a gender-diverse workforce.

"I am truly honored to lead WFF as we carry forward the organization's tremendous momentum and embrace fast-paced growth of our programs," Gearhart said in a statement. "I am grateful to our partners, who continue to entrust our organization to provide guidance and be at the forefront of advancing gender diversity and equality across the food service industry.”

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