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SymphonyIRI Group names new president, CEO

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — SymphonyIRI Group on Wednesday announced that Andrew Appel has joined the company as president and CEO.

Appel, who also joins SymphonyIRI’s board of directors, succeeds John Freeland, who moves into a new interim role as executive vice chairman and will remain on the board of directors until his retirement later in 2012.

"We are extremely pleased to have Andrew join SymphonyIRI to lead this next phase of our growth," stated Lawrence Benjamin, chairman of SymphonyIRI. "He brings to SymphonyIRI a strong track record leading global professional service organizations and deep experience in technology and operational excellence."

Appel has held a number of senior leadership positions for Chicago-based professional service firms. As chief operating officer at Aon, Appel developed and implemented a successful revenue growth plan for the company. He also led the team responsible for the $5 billion acquisition of Hewitt, solidifying Aon’s leading position in human resource consulting and outsourcing. Prior to this, Appel was CEO of two of the firm’s three global divisions: Aon Consulting, a leading benefits and human resources consulting firm, and Aon Benfield, the world’s largest reinsurance broker.

Prior to joining Aon, Appel was a senior partner at McKinsey & Co., where he advised leading global financial institutions on operational, strategic and organizational issues. Appel joins SymphonyIRI from Accretive Health, where he was SVP revenue operations.

Appel holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, where he was the Henry Ford II scholar. He is an active board member at the Joffrey Ballet.


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Clif Bar launches sixth annual 2 Mile Challenge

BY Michael Johnsen

EMERYVILLE, Calif. — Clif Bar on Wednesday kicked off its sixth annual 2 Mile Challenge, partnering with cyclists to donate $100,000 to bike advocacy nonprofits when riders choose to pedal their bikes instead of drive cars for trips 2 miles or less.

“Joining the 2 Mile Challenge is an easy way to do something good for the environment, while having fun and interacting with the bike community,” stated Ryan Mayo, environmental activism manager at Clif Bar. “As a company that makes food to support people on-the-go, we strive to help sustain the planet for a better future and hope to inspire others to make small changes in their everyday lives to protect the places where people play.”

This year, every bike trip logged by participants in the 2 Mile Challenge is worth $1 for a regional bike advocacy nonprofit, up to a pre-determined monthly dollar cap. Clif Bar will select a new nonprofit each month to benefit from rider miles. All told, the nationwide campaign will donate $100,000 to grassroots bike organizations throughout 2012.

In May, the 2 Mile Challenge donated $6,590 to BikeWalkKC, the unified voice for active living in Kansas City. The Los Angeles County Bike Coalition will benefit from the 2 Mile Challenge in June. Other bike advocacy beneficiaries will be chosen as the year progresses, the company stated.

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Coinstar, Seattle’s Best Coffee bring coffee kiosks to supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchants nationwide

BY Allison Cerra

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Coinstar is bringing its coffee kiosk to various retail channels through an exclusive agreement with Starbucks-owned Seattle’s Best Coffee.

The companies said they initially will roll out 500 Rubi coffee kiosks — which will serve Seattle’s Best Coffee — to grocery, drug and mass merchant retail channels. The Rubi coffee kiosks serving Seattle’s Best Coffee will initially be installed in the Northeast and West Coast regions. As Coinstar expands geographically with its coffee kiosk, it will also pursue additional channels as part of an ongoing rollout.

"We are delighted to introduce the Rubi kiosk, our third automated retail business," Coinstar CEO Paul Davis said. "Just as our Redbox movie rental and Coinstar coin-counting kiosks reimagined retail, we believe our coffee kiosk reimagines the coffee experience for consumers. In addition, we are very pleased to work with Seattle’s Best Coffee, one of the country’s premier coffee brands. Together, we will deliver the kind of quality, convenience and value that we know coffee drinkers on-the-go will appreciate."

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