WASHINGTON, D.C.—Susan K. Neely, president and chief executive officer of the American Beverage Association (ABA), today announced the appointment of Kevin W. Keane as executive vice president (EVP) of the newly-combined Government and Public Affairs Department (GPA) for the association.  

“The combination of both of these portfolios under Kevin’s capable leadership is a sign of the times,” said Neely. “My view is that the days of a bright line between the two functions are gone. We are now working in a world where good communication is just as important as a good ground game, and we are fortunate to have Kevin who has vast experience ranging from the newsroom, to the campaign trail, to the George W. Bush Administration.”

As chief government and public affairs officer for the association, Keane will guide strategy for ABA’s government affairs, public affairs, communications and policy arms, working with member companies and allied organizations. Under his leadership, ABA’s GPA team will continue to lead on major initiatives to reduce sugar and calories consumed from beverages in the American diet, while combating discriminatory taxes and regulations and preserving consumer choice.

Keane has served as ABA’s senior vice president of policy and public affairs since 2005, where he has overseen the public affairs aspects of a number of ambitious and voluntary industry initiatives including the national School Beverage Guidelines, Clear on Calories front-of-pack labeling, Drink Up and most recently, the Balance Calories Initiative. Also during his tenure, more than 40 discriminatory tax measures have been defeated.

“We have iconic and dynamic companies who are constantly working to be part of solutions to tough challenges facing our country and our communities,” said Keane. “They take on hard problems, make meaningful commitments and deliver results. Through this newly aligned department, we’ll be able to tell this compelling story in a clear and comprehensive manner that will let lawmakers, policymakers and the public know how our companies are making a real difference.”

Immediately prior to joining ABA, Keane served as Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where he worked with the nation’s leading health organizations and media outlets.  While there, Keane was a senior advisor to Secretary Tommy Thompson, managing all aspects of the department’s communications efforts around issues ranging from Medicare funding to bio-terrorism preparedness, as well as developing and overseeing multi-million-dollar advertising and public service campaigns.

Prior to his service at HHS, Keane served as deputy chief of staff for then-Wisconsin Gov. Thompson, where he managed communications, appointments, constituent relations and the Wisconsin State Office in Washington, D.C.  Keane’s career began in journalism, where he served as Washington Bureau correspondent covering the federal government for Thomson Newspapers, and as a reporter for the Waukesha Freeman Newspaper and the Fond du Lac Reporter, both in Wisconsin.

Keane is a member of the Boards of the Public Affairs Council and the Family and Children’s Trust Fund (FACT) of Virginia.  He resides in northern Virginia with his wife, Chris.  Together, they have three children, Brendan, Patrick and Maggie.

The non-alcoholic beverage industry employs nearly 240,000 people with a direct economic impact of more than $169 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.

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The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.  For more information on ABA, please visit the association’s Web site at www.ameribev.org or call the ABA media relations team at (202) 463-6770.