Chip Wann has become the first non-family member to lead Birmingham-based Royal Cup Inc. Wann, who most recently served as the company’s chief operating officer, has been named president and CEO of the coffee and tea importer and roaster, effective immediately.
“Chip has successfully led our company on a path of modernization while maximizing efficiencies across the board,” said Bill Smith Jr., chairman of Royal Cup’s board of directors. “His commitment to our customers, team and product lines solidified our confidence in his ability to lead our team for the long term.”
Wann joined Royal Cup in 2017 as chief financial officer, responsible for corporate finance, accounting, commodities, information technology, pricing and procurement. He was named to the post of chief operating officer in April 2019, overseeing all aspects of Royal Cup’s day-to-day business and personnel decisions.
“Royal Cup is positioned well for growth in our highly competitive marketplace,” said Wann. “With the investments made by our team in our people, processes and systems, I am confident in our ability to continue offering our customers the experience they have come to expect from us, while driving profitable growth for the company.”
Prior to joining Royal Cup, Wann served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Birmingham-based Mspark, as well as holding executive-level positions in the health care and insurance sectors.
Wann replaces Bill Smith III, who is transitioning to director and strategic advisor. Smith will focus on new and unique opportunities for the Royal Cup brand, as well as remain an active board member.
“Since he joined our organization, I have sought his counsel and support on many key decisions facing our organization,” said Bill Smith III of Wann. “His sound and intelligent advice has played an important role in the factors that have driven our organization forward.”
Royal Cup has been owned and operated by the Smith family since 1950, when William E. Smith purchased the Batterton Coffee Co. and renamed it Royal Cup Coffee. It is one of the oldest and largest family-owned coffee and tea businesses in the United States, getting its start in 1896 with Henry Batterton, who sold coffee from his horse-drawn wagon in Birmingham.
Today, the company sources, roasts, blends and provides high-quality coffee and fine teas across the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean through 10 distribution centers and more than 860 employees nationwide, including nearly 400 in Alabama. Royal Cup roasts approximately 58 million pounds annually, serving more than 40,000 customers in the food service, hospitality, office and specialty coffee markets.
“Since 1896, Royal Cup has been focused on excellence,” Wann said. “We are a company rooted in a continuum of five key tenets: quality, integrity, people, support and value. As we look toward the future, we will remain committed to these tenets, maintaining and enhancing the quality of our products, acting with integrity in all that we do, remembering that it is our people who make us special, supporting our customers in all facets of their businesses through partnership and service, and celebrating the real and intrinsic value that Royal Cup offers.”