COCONUT CREEK, FL -- Brent Toevs told Vending Times that he has resigned as chief executive of Jammin Java (dba Marley Coffee). Toevs, who had held the position for five years, left the coffee company in December, but is announcing the shift officially this week.
Marley Coffee, which has established a big presence in the office coffee service channel, has been embroiled in controversy since last summer, after Bob Marley's heirs terminated the licensing agreement for the "Marley Coffee" name.
Toevs said he has returned to National Coffee, a nationwide master brokerage and consultancy for vending, micromarkets and OCS that he helped to found in 2001. National Coffee, which has offices in Coconut Creek, FL, and Denver, has been managed by cofounder Rick Dutkiewicz during his absence.
National was recently appointed as the representative for Minnesota's People's Organic Coffee and New York City's Lavit, which manufactures a single-serve cold beverage system.
Toevs has extensive sales and operational experience. He was a sales associate at Take A Break/Arbuckle Coffee (Ottawa, ON), and went on to become its president. Toevs assisted the company in becoming one of the first Keurig authorized distributors. He later became sales vice-president of USRefresh, where he was responsible for building its OCS business to a $50 million annual level.
In a September 2016 letter to shareholders, two months before his resignation as Marley Coffee chief, Toevs warned that the family of Bob Marley wanted to sever ties with the company and its parent, Jammin Java, threatening the survival of the coffee company. Last June, the Marley family had terminated Marley Coffee's 15-year licensing agreement. In July, Marley Coffee founder Rohan Marley, the reggae legend's son, had stepped down as chairman of the company.
Toevs said in his September letter to shareholders that the company had "strong prospects" in the grocery business, as well as new channels prior to the cancellation of its licensing agreement. "We need to both mend and restart those conversations with retailers to get things moving again," he said. "Not having a long-term license in place has put us in a precarious position."
He also said that company was seeking potential investors and acquirers, but was concerned that the Marley family would not cooperate in its efforts to save the Marley brand.
Vending Times was unable to reach Marley Coffee for comment.