Italian espresso machine manufacturer La Marzocco International has announced the appointment of longtime LM executive Guido Bernardinelli as the new CEO. Bernardinelli replaces outgoing CEO Kent Bakke, a revered figure in the specialty coffee industry for his role in bringing Italian espresso equipment to the United States market.
Bakke was instrumental in La Marzocco’s rise to prominence after visiting the Italian manufacturer in 1978 and shortly thereafter importing its machines to Seattle. The company in 1994 inked a deal with Starbucks before the latter company switched to fully automatic machines in 2004.
Despite the loss of Starbucks and through numerous economic downturns, Bakke has helped lead the beloved machine brand to sustained international success. In the past two years alone, La Marzocco has celebrate its 90th anniversary, opened a stunning showroom and cafe in Seattle, and unveiled the new Leva line of manual lever machines,
La Marzocco says Bakke will remain a part of the company as a board member and advisor.
“As a long term, pivotal member of the management team, Guido has been instrumental in developing and executing the company’s long-term strategic goals,” Bakke said in an announcement issued by LM today. “This leadership transition represents a significant milestone in advancing La Marzocco’s legacy into the future. This new appointment recognizes Guido’s continued commitment in leadership to La Marzocco. I am confident in his experience, vision and passion for growing the company. I believe that he will continue to lead and advance our brand, culture and international team,”
Bernardinelli initially joined La Marzocco in 2002, and for the past eight years has been the Managing Director of La Marzocco SRL in Italy.
“My most respectful and honored feelings go to the board and longtime friend and mentor, Kent Bakke, for my evolved position at La Marzocco,” Bernardinelli said. “I gratefully take on this new responsibility. I am confident that my 20-year expertise and global market understanding shall perpetuate our predecessors’ achievements and foreknowledge of the coffee community.”