Kraft Heinz has made three additions to its U.S. leadership team with the appointments of Cory Onell as president of sales, Sanjiv Gajiwala as chief growth officer and Stephanie Peterson as head of communications. The appointments are part of a larger brand strategy of customer-focused innovation, talent development and strategic investments, according to the company.
“With their inclusion on our U.S. Leadership Team, we’re adding critical, best-in-class sales, marketing, and communications capabilities that will help us build a new Kraft Heinz fueled by innovation, insights and agility,” said Carlos Abrams-Rivera, U.S. zone president for Kraft Heinz, in a statement.
Gajiwala comes to Kraft Heinz from Mike’s Hard Lemonade, where he was the svp of marketing, and led the marketing strategy for one of the buzziest products on the market in recent years: White Claw spiked seltzer. The goal of his position is to leverage insights and analytics to align brand strategy with consumer needs. His arrival comes just over a year after former CMO Eduardo Luz stepped down.
Onell has spent 20 years in CPG sales at organizations such as J.M. Smucker Company, Campbell Soup Company, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Mondelez International and Kraft Foods. His role will be to reclaim category leadership and drive customer and channel growth.
Peterson stepped into her new role in May, after serving in senior-level positions at Kind Snacks, PepsiCo and IHOP Restaurants. She is leading all internal and external communications efforts for the U.S. branch of Kraft Heinz.
These appointments come amid a year of change for the legendary CPG brand’s marketing strategies as the company looks to rebound sales from a 70% share price fall between early 2017 and 2020. In February, it increased its media budget by 30% but cut the number of agencies it worked with in half. In March, Kraft Heinz reviewed a $520 million media contract with Publicis Groupe’s Starcom. Most recently, it’s been gaining global attention with a campaign centered around the Planters brand’s iconic mascot, Mr. Peanut, who died in a pre-Super Bowl spot, was reborn as Baby Nut during the Big Game, and celebrated his 21st birthday this week, becoming “Peanut Jr.“