Kraft Heinz appoints Dana Somerville as CMO

The former VP and head of brand build, innovation and R&D steps into the role, filling a more than yearlong vacancy.

Dana-SomervilleKraft Heinz Canada has named its next CMO more than a year after restructuring its marketing department, a move that saw former chief marketer Brian Kerr leave the company.

The CPG giant has announced that Dana Somerville, former VP and head of brand build, innovation and R&D in Canada, has stepped into the CMO role starting this month. Somerville joined Kraft Heinz in 1997 and has worked on Kraft Peanut Butter’s “Stick Together” platform and Cracker Barrel’s “Now This Is Cheese” campaign,” and helped oversee the launch of the Crave Frozen Meals and Max Boost coffee brands over the last year.

Her promotion follows a recent leadership shuffle within Kraft Heinz. As of Jan. 1, Nina Barton took over as president of the company’s Canadian operations, replacing Carlos Piani, who has returned to the U.S. after three years in the role to head up strategic initiatives, mergers and acquisitions out of company co-headquarters in Chicago.

In addition to her new responsibilities in Canada, Barton continues to serve as president of global digital online growth, a title that comes with oversight of Kraft Heinz ecommerce platforms, new online businesses and its Mealtime Stories joint venture with Oprah Winfrey, launched in 2017.

Former chief marketer Kerr ended a 19-year stint with the company in August 2017 as a result of corporate restructuring at Kraft Heinz in Canada. At the time, the company put the search for a new CMO in waiting to see if the new structure met its business needs, a company spokesperson said at the time. Instead, the leads of the individual sector businesses took on marketing duties and reported directly to Piani. That interim marketing team include Somerville.

Meanwhile, in October 2018, Kerr returned to his native Bobcaygeon, Ontario, to lead family-owned ice cream and dairy products company Kawartha Dairy as CEO.

Late last year, Kraft Heinz agreed to sell its Canadian natural cheese business to dairy and beverage giant Parmalat SpA for $1.62 billion. At the time, Kraft CEO Bernardo Hees said the deal would allow Kraft Heinz to focus on “the segments and categories where we have stronger brand equity, competitive advantage and greater growth prospects.”