Meet Our Management Team

Scott Lerner

Chief Executive Officer

Scott Lerner is a consumer products veteran with over 20 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry, having previously worked for PepsiCo, ConAgra Foods and Kimberly-Clark, where he managed iconic brands such as Naked Juice, Quaker Oats, Scott Tissue and Parkay Margarine. In 2008, Scott created his own beverage brand called Solixir, resulting in a successful exit in 2014. Following the sale of Solixir, Scott partnered with the private equity group VMG partners to become the CEO of Kernel Season’s, where he introduced new product lines, increased profitability by 30% and oversaw the sale of the company to Highlander Partners. Mr. Lerner was most recently the CEO of food brand Farmhouse Culture, where he partnered with private equity investors to reposition the brand in order to capitalize on growing health and wellness trends. 

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.

Donald Young

Executive Vice President, Sales

Donald Young joins The Better Choice Company with more than 29 years of experience leading the
sales organizations of several prominent pet specialty pet food brands including The Nutro Company
(Natural Choice, MAX, and Greenies Brands) and Merrick Pet Care, Inc. (Merrick, Backcountry,
Purrfect Bistro and Fresh Kisses Brands).
Following his success at The Nutro Company, Mr. Young led the turnaround and expansion of Merrick
Pet Care’s Pet Specialty business from 2010 – 2020, where he was directly responsible for growing
the company from a niche brand to the #3 natural player in the pet specialty retail channel. Merrick
Pet Care more than quadrupled its sales during this period, surpassing $500m in the process and
ultimately leading to the sale of Merrick Pet Care to the Nestle Purina Company. Donald has also
been recognized by his peers in the Pet Industry for his track record of success, winning numerous
sales awards throughout his career including recognition as one of Pet Age Magazine’s 2019 ICON