Meet Our Management Team

Werner von Pein

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. von Pein has served as our Chief Executive Officer since February 2020. Prior to that, Mr. vonPein was President and Chief Executive Officer of Halo, which became a subsidiary of the Company following its acquisition in December 2019. Prior to Halo, Mr. von Pein was the Chief Executive Officer of Three Dog Bakery, a U.S. based pet treats and toys/accessories business. In addition to his experience at Halo and Three Dog Bakery, Mr.von Pein also served as the Executive Vice President of Global Operations and New Ventures at Beefeaters, a manufacturer and seller of dog treats and wellness products. Beyond his significant experience in the pet industry, Mr. von Pein has held various leadership positions at a number of consumer branded businesses, most notably as the Chief Executive Officer of Lavazza-North America. Mr. von Pein also has significant foundational experience from his time at Rexall Sundown, Kraft and Procter and Gamble, where he worked on brands such as Nabisco Brands, Hebrew National, Gain, Cheer, Life Savers and Planters. Mr. von Pein holds an Master of Business Administration from Xavier University and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester.

Sharla Cook

Chief Financial Officer

Sharla Cook joined Better Choice Company in April 2020, bringing more than 17 years of accounting and financial management experience for both start-ups, and mature, global organizations. Prior to joining Better Choice, Ms. Cook served as Vice President, Accounting, and Corporate Controller at a real estate investment management and property management company, where she led corporate accounting and finance, risk management, and human resources. Prior to that, Ms. Cook was Corporate Controller at Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. where she oversaw corporate accounting, tax and financial planning and analysis. Prior, Ms Cook held various positions across multiple industries with oversight of accounting, finance, and treasury. Ms. Cook began her career at KPMG LLP in Tampa. Ms. Cook is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Florida, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Southeastern University.

Anthony Santarsiero

Executive Vice President, Sales

Anthony Santarsiero joined Better Choice Company in May 2019, concurrent with the acquisition of TruPet, and currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Sales.  Anthony oversees sales for both the Halo and TruPet brands. Prior to Better Choice’s acquisition of TruPet, Mr. Santarsiero was the President of TruPet, where he was responsible for overseeing the financial performance and day-to-day operations beginning in March, 2014. Prior to TruPet,  Mr. Santarsiero served as Sales and Marketing Manager at GSI Inc. from May, 2013 to March, 2014, International Sales Manager and Director of E-Commerce Platform at BriteLyt Inc. from May, 2012 to May, 2013, Sales Manager and Business Manager at Dimmitt Automotive Group from June, 2011 to May, 2012. 

Damian Dalla-Longa

Executive Vice President, Capital Markets & Corporate Development, Director

Damian Dalla-Longa joined Better Choice Company in May 2019, concurrent with the acquisition of Bona Vida, and currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Corporate Development. Damian Dalla-Longa has been a Partner since 2017 at Albaron Partners, a private equity fund focused on acquiring and operating medical practices and other healthcare businesses. Prior to August, 2017, Mr. Dalla-Longa served as an Investment Analyst at numerous large asset managers, including King Street Capital Management, and Bain Capital. Previously, Mr. Dalla-Longa served as our Chief Executive Officer and served as the Chief Executive Officer of Bona Vida, Inc. from October 2018 until its acquisition by the Company in May 2019. Mr. Dalla-Longa holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Donna Bowden

Executive Vice President, Operations

Donna Bowden joined Better Choice Company in December 2019, concurrent with the acquisition of Halo, and currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Operations for Better Choice. Ms. Bowden oversees operations for both the Halo and TruPet brands. Donna Bowden joined the Halo team in 2010 and advanced to the position of Vice President of Operations prior to the acquisition. Ms. Bowden has extensive experience in operations in the consumer products industry, beginning her career as a packaging engineer with Colgate Palmolive, and moving into production planning and contract manufacturing coordination. Ms. Bowden is a graduate of Michigan State University and holds a degree in Packaging Engineering.

Robert Sauermann

Executive Vice President, Strategy & Finance

Rob Sauermann joined Better Choice Company in December 2019, concurrent with the acquisition of Halo, and currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Strategy & Finance for Better Choice. Prior to joining the Halo team full-time in October 2019 as its Chief Strategy Officer, Mr. Sauermann served as an Investment Professional at Pegasus Capital Advisors. In that role, he also served on the board of Halo from 2017 through 2019, and led the successful restructuring and sale of the company to Better Choice. While at Pegasus, he deployed approximately $100 million of growth equity capital across various sectors, with a particular focus on animal health and wellness focused investments. Mr. Sauermann previously served on the boards of Organix Recycling, National Strategies, and currently serves on the board of SGV International. Mr. Sauermann began his career at Credit Suisse in New York. Mr. Sauermann is a graduate of Harvard College and holds a degree in Economics and Earth and Planetary Science.