Kraft Foods Group Appoints Elsner as CMO

Published in CSP Daily News

Creation of new role aimed at driving marketing innovation

Deanie Elsner

NORTHFIELD, Ill. -- Kraft Foods Group Inc. recently announced the appointment of Deanie Elsner to the newly created role of chief marketing officer, reporting directly to company CEO, Tony Vernon. As the company's first CMO, Elsner will be responsible for building on the strength of Kraft's unrivaled brands through the development of world-class marketing and innovation that drives consumer engagement and contributes to the company's volume and revenue growth.

"Kraft is focusing its resources and energies on leveraging our great brands, people and innovation to drive growth," said Vernon. "Establishing the CMO position will enable us to harness the power of these tremendous assets. Deanie is uniquely qualified to pioneer this role given her success in building some of the world's most iconic brands throughout her 20-year career at Kraft."

Elsner most recently served as president of Kraft's Beverages business, where she was responsible for the manufacturing, marketing and sales of Maxwell House coffee, one of the company's billion-dollar brands, as well as Kool-Aid, Capri Sun, Country Time, Crystal Light, Gevalia and Tassimo. Under her leadership, the Beverages business achieved one of the most successful new product introductions in Kraft's history with the launch of MiO, a liquid water enhancer on pace to exceed $200 million in revenues.

Elsner previously managed Kraft Foods Inc.'s European coffee business, and is credited with having orchestrated its turnaround while establishing a roadmap for category success. Before that, she served in numerous brand-management positions at the company.

She joined Kraft Foods in 1992 as an assistant brand manager for the viscous category. She held a variety of marketing management positions in Grocery and Kraft Foods’ former pizza business before being named category business director for the Boca Foods Business. In that role, she managed the integration of recently acquired Boca Foods into the Oscar Mayer Division in 2001. Two years later, Elsner was appointed category business director for Lunchableslunch combinations and was recognized for turning the Lunchablesbusiness around, said the company.

"I look forward to applying my knowledge of this business and its iconic brands to market and deliver innovative products that are in sync with today's consumer lifestyles," said Elsner.

Prior to joining Kraft, Elsner worked in sales for Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.

Replacing Elsner is Dino Bianco, who will serve as executive vice president and president of Beverages and Canada. He most recently served as executive vice president and president of National Businesses and Marketing Services. Bianco served as President of Kraft Canada for seven years. Prior to running the Canadian P&L, Bianco served in finance, marketing and sales roles for the company. His beverage experience includes responsibility for the Retail Coffee business as director of marketing and later as vice president of marketing with responsibility for Beverages, Desserts, Grocery and Cereals.

He has been with Kraft since 1990.

Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods Group is North America's fourth largest consumer packaged food and beverage company, with revenues of approximately $19 billion in 2011. Launched as a public and independent company on Oct. 1, 2012, the new Kraft has a portfolio of products in the beverages, cheese, refrigerated meals and grocery categories. Its iconic brands include Kraft, Maxwell House, Oscar Mayer, Planters and JELL-O.