Corner Office Shifts: PepsiCo Canada names new President

Plus: Marketing exec hires at Conagra, Waterloo Tourism and Plenty of Fish.

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By Will Novosedlik

Conagra shuffles the executive deck

After two years of turning tree water into cash flow and doubling the business during his tenure as CEO of beverage maker Sapsucker, Tim Lute has been “tapped” by Conagra to assume the mantle of VP, commercial strategy, insights and transformation.

Previous to his time at Sapsucker, Lute spent over 20 years in sales, channel strategy and marketing at Coca-Cola Canada. Lute’s new mandate is to develop the commercial strategy that will achieve Conagra’s ambitious goals in market. He’ll report to Paul Hogan, VP & GM Conagra Brands Canada.

Leslie Mackay has been named VP, customer leadership organization, where she will be responsible for growing Conagra Canada’s portfolio in partnership with the company’s most valued customers. Previously, Mackay was the vice president of sales, Conagra Brands Canada. Mackay will also report to Paul Hogan.

Lute and Mackay will team up with Lynne Strickler, head of marketing Conagra Brands Canada, to craft and execute a strategic plan via a combination of portfolio activation, innovation, commercial capabilities, channel execution and customer partnerships.

Yvonne van Dinther begins tour as CMO at Explore Waterloo Region

To promote the Waterloo region as a premiere tourism destination for leisure travel, business events and sport hosting, Explore Waterloo Region (EWR) has appointed Yvonne van Dinther to the position of chief marketing officer.

She brings a stellar resume to the role after 25 successful years of brand development, strategic planning and integrated marketing experience for brands like Bell Canada, Coca-Cola, Hilton Hotels, Singapore Airlines, Destination Toronto, Destination Ontario, Unilever and Microsoft. Prior to establishing her own consultancy, van Dinther was also co-creator and managing director of Radar DDB, where she led the Canadian Tourism Commission’s (now Destination Canada) marketing efforts in Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and North America.

She also has an extensive public affairs background, having worked as part of the political staff of a Canadian Minister, and led strategic public relations efforts for organizations such as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Fisheries & Oceans Canada and the National Archives of Canada.

North American Divisions of PepsiCo redraw the leadership map

Rachel Ferdinando, currently chief marketing officer for Frito-Lay U.S., will cross the border to join the PepsiCo Foods Canada team as president. She will take on HR, finance, customer development, field sales, marketing, supply chain, IT, R&D, foodservice and transformation.

Prior to joining PepsiCo in 2017, Ferdinando held various global marketing and general management leadership roles at Kimberly-Clark Corporation and GlaxoSmithKline. She has also won recognition as the Most Innovative CMO by Business Insider in 2021, one of the most influential CMOs in the world by Forbes, and Outstanding Marketer of the year by PR Week, not to mention a trophy case full of creative awards from the likes of The Drum US, Campaign, and Ad Age.

Cara Keating, current president of PFC, is joining the FLNA business as chief customer officer. In her new role, Keating will lead the sales function overseeing strategy, sales planning and commercialization for Frito-Lay’s U.S. customer sales organization, with responsibility for retail, ecommerce, PepsiCo customer teams, Hispanic Business Unit and foodservice businesses.

An 18-year PepsiCo veteran, Keating has plied her trade across various geographies in general management, customer insights and field and customer leadership. She is a passionate supporter of PepsiCo’s diversity, engagement and inclusion agenda. Her efforts to champion and empower women have been recognized with the prestigious PepsiCo Global Harvey Russell award, and externally, with the 2017 Star Women in Grocery award from Canadian Grocer Magazine.

Mike del Pozzo, currently chief customer officer (CCO) of Frito-Lay U.S., will be returning to PBNA as President and General Manager of the Gatorade Performance Portfolio, which includes Gatorade, Propel, Muscle Milk, Evolve and current and future innovation. He will focus on sales, customer management, brand building and engagement through innovative portfolio plans and category leadership.

Prior to his current remit, del Pozzo spent 20 years in roles such as senior vice president, commercial planning across PBNA, senior vice president and general manager leading the PepsiCo Kroger business, which built on his roles across PepsiCo’s Walmart business, field leadership, marketing and operations. Del Pozzo has the unique distinction of having worked across all PepsiCo business units, including PBNA, QFNA, FLNA and PepsiCo global.

Brett O’Brien, currently general manager and senior vice president of the Gatorade Performance Portfolio (GPP), will assume the title of chief marketing officer for Frito-Lay U.S. For over ten years, O’Brien has led the Gatorade and Propel brands, and has grown the portfolio to now include Muscle Milk, Evolve and other breakthrough innovations that address the needs of athletes. Previously, O’Brien oversaw the MTN DEW trademark, Sierra Mist and Pepsi’s flavored soft drink brands. Since joining PepsiCo in 2001, O’Brien has held marketing roles across juice, energy, lifestyle programming and Pepsi Music. He has been recognized in Advertising Age’s 40 under 40 and Brandweek’s Marketer of the Year.

Plenty of Fish nets tech industry veteran Christina Kozloff

Christina Kozloff has been named chief marketing officer at Vancouver-based dating platform Plenty of Fish. Christina has led teams and programs at Expedia, Microsoft and Zillow. Most recently, she turned around the legacy language brand Rosetta Stone. At Plenty of Fish, she’ll oversee brand, performance marketing and public relations for one of the largest global online dating companies.

Kozloff leveraged her expertise in performance and brand marketing to grow the revenue at Rosetta Stone by over 50%. She ran a 60-person global team of experts in performance marketing, brand strategy, creative services, research, marketing analytics, web development and communications.

She also worked at Microsoft, creating a brand strategy for Bing and MSN that disrupted the category, developing and executing advertising and marketing programs to support the $200M+ media plan and fuel share growth. At Expedia Group, she led all aspects of its $100M+ advertising program.