President and Chief Commercial Officer
Since becoming president and chief commercial officer of Miller Brewing Co. in 2006, Tom Long has guided his company through several successful changes, including the joint venture agreement that created MillerCoors last July. Long also made the crucial decision to locate the newly merged company in downtown Chicago instead of Milwaukee or Denver. "We came to the conclusion that we did need a neutral third place," Long said.
The company will grow as it expands to produce Coors Light—the nation’s third largest beer brand—and other brands formerly owned by Coors Brewing. Long’s decisions to invest $50 million in improving facilities and to spread production to additional breweries will result in more jobs and a large savings in shipping costs, which should boost retail sales even further.
A North Carolina native, Long graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School before beginning a business career that has included working in more than 60 countries, holding senior global positions in sales, marketing and general management.
Before it became MillerCoors, Long’s company was known for the more than 150 years of innovation and brewing excellence that built its broad portfolio of award-winning beers, which captured about 18% of the U.S. beer market and constituted a significant percentage convenience channel beer sales. Miller beers won 105 medals–more than twice as many as its major competitors–at the biannual World Beer Cup and annual Great American Beer Fest since 1996, when the World Beer Cup debuted.
MillerCoors brands have been consistent winners at the Great American Beer Festival, the World Beer Cup and other beer competitions. In addition to its own American-brewed labels, the company imports Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell and Foster’s, and offers regional craft brews from the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company and the Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Co.
Chairman and CEO
In a presentation to shareholders this past summer, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi suggested that calling Pepsi a "cola company" in 2008 is tantamount to calling GE a light-bulb company.
"We are the leader in savory snacks in virtually every country of the world in which we do business," Nooyi said. "We have 18 mega brands that each generate over a billion dollars in retail sales—from well-known brands likes Lay’s, Doritos and Pepsi-Cola to heavyweight regional brands like Walkers Crisps in the UK and Mirinda outside the United States."
To be sure, PepsiCo’s reach expands to 200 countries, and its net revenue last year was at almost $40 billion. With principal businesses including Frito-Lay snacks, Pepsi-Cola beverages, Gatorade sports drinks, Tropicana juices and Quaker foods, PepsiCo has hundreds of products in virtually every convenience category.
And it only continues to grow. In October, PepsiCo acquired Spitz International Inc., the Canadian maker of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, adding tremendous growth potential for this category in North American markets.
Now, all of that might seem like ample activity for most, but Nooyi calls it one thing: "A good start."
Nooyi was named president and CEO of PepsiCo in October 2006, assuming the role of chairman just seven months later. She’s served in various executive-level positions at PepsiCo since 1994.
Think she isn’t someone to watch? Time magazine named her one of its 100 most influential people, "a rare executive among the global corporate giants," while The Wall Street Journal ranked her second among its "50 Women to Watch."
She’s focused on improving shareholder value—evidenced by her ceaseless push for innovation and growth—but more important, perhaps, is her commitment to improve global prosperity, sustainability and health and wellness. The Spitz acquisition, for instance, played into PepsiCo’s strong focus on healthier snacks and beverages.
Dushan "Duke" Petrovich
The Wrigley Co.
As leader of the Wrigley Co., Dushan Petrovich is responsible for the worldwide strategy, operations and business performance of a company that has long been essential to the convenience store industry.
Wrigley, a recognized leader in confections with a wide range of product offerings including gum, mints, hard and chewy candies, lollipops and chocolate, named veteran Petrovich, who has been with the company for 30 years, as president last October.
Wrigley distributes its popular brands in more than 180 countries. Three of its most popular brands—Spearmint and Juicy Fruit chewing gums and Altoid mints—have been around for more than 100 years. Newer, but equally popular products include Skittles, Big, Red, Boomer, Starburst, Winterfresh, Freedent and Doublemint gums and candies.
A native of The Wrigley Co.’s hometown of Chicago, Petrovich began his career in the Wrigley finance department and later served as vice president, corporate controller and vice president/corporate treasurer. In his most recent role as senior vice president and chief administrative officer, he was responsible for many of the company’s vital functions, including global supply chain, global procurement, global real estate, information technology, human resources and corporate communications.
"Duke has played an important role in the transformation and ongoing growth of Wrigley throughout the years," said Bill Wrigley Jr., chairman of the company that bears his family name. "He has served on our executive leadership team for more than 10 years, and has proven himself to be a strong and visionary leader. Given his experience, combined with his ability to respect the company’s heritage while remaining focused on our future, Duke is the right leader at the right time for our company."
In his new role, Petrovich will continue to work closely with company Chairman Bill Wrigley Jr. Both men will report to Paul S. Michaels, president and CEO of Mars Inc., which r
ecently acquired the Wrigley Co.
Chairman and CEO
Kraft Foods Inc.
Irene Rosenfeld became chief executive of Kraft Foods in June 2006, and chairman of the giant food company less than a year later. A Kraft veteran of some years, Rosenfeld’s accomplishments include leading restructuring and turnaround of key businesses in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. She also oversaw the smooth integration of Nabisco into the Kraft company and served on the senior team that led Kraft’s initial public offering in 2001.
Snacks are major sellers in convenience stores, and Kraft manufactures a large number of the most popular products sold in the channel. The company acts to fulfill local consumer preferences like the Marabou chocolate so popular in Scandinavia as well as providing products like Oreo, Chips Ahoy and Oscar Meyer lunchmeats.
Under Rosenfeld’s guidance, Kraft continues to offer a wide variety of snacks for busy consumers who are looking for ready-to-eat, ready-to-drink, on-the-go choices. During her earlier tenure as chairman and CEO of Frito-Lay, Rosenfeld led the way to accelerated growth in better-for-you products and developed a pipeline of health and wellness offerings.
"I love so many of our products," Rosenfeld said. "But if I had to pick my favorite it would be Kraft macaroni and cheese, although Oreo cookies are high up on the list too."
Rosenfeld’s observational powers are almost legendary, and she has a rare ability to translate what she sees and hears into insights that improve the company she leads. "It’s great to go to cocktail parties where everyone has an opinion about what you do," she said. "But I really enjoy figuring out why people behave the way they do and then use those insights to develop new products or build stronger relationships with our consumers."
Rosenfeld also serves on the Board of Directors for the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Cornell University Board of Trustees.
Michael E. Szymanczyk
Chairman and CEO
Philip Morris USA Inc.
In good times and bad, few suppliers have a proven record of rallying around convenience retailers that compares with Philip Morris USA. The country’s largest tobacco manufacturer has aggressively combated illegally imported cigarettes, effectively used the court system to punish scofflaws selling and distributing these products and has emerged as a fierce opponent to out-of-control tobacco taxes at the federal and state levels. Along the way, it has elevated its portfolio with key moves that include the purchase of cigar maker John Middleton and the pending acquisition of the country’s largest smokeless tobacco company, UST Inc.
In April, upon the spinoff of Philip Morris International, Michael Szymanczyk was appointed chairman and CEO of Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris USA.
The Virginia-based tobacco company has sought to expand its presence in the total tobacco category after its parent spun off its overseas counterpart, Philip Morris International, earlier this year. American smokers are buying fewer cigarettes as smoking bans and higher taxes weaken demand by about 4% a year.
OTP, on the other hand, was among the category leaders this past year when it came to in-store sales and margins. While OTP ranked just eighth among the top 10 contributors for actual gross profit dollars, the category still led the way for increases in per-store sales and per-store gross profit dollars, posting 19% jumps on both fronts.
Altria Group, whose cigarette portfolio includes category leader Marlboro, Virginia Slims and Parliament, plans to add venerable smokeless brands such as Copenhagen, Skoal and Husky. "The combination of Altria and UST creates the premier tobacco company in the U.S. with leading brands in cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and machine-made large cigars," Szymanczyk said of the deal.
Philip Morris USA has ranked among the top performers in CSD’s Retailer Poll for the last six years and was named one of BusinessWeek’s top 50 places to launch a career in 2008.
President, CEO and Director
The Hershey Co.
In October 2007, seven-year Hershey Co. executive David West was pegged to replace the retiring Richard Lenny as the company’s leader.
It was a strategic decision for the company, which was seeing slightly sluggish sales amid fierce competition, increased commodity costs and other pressures. Given West’s seasoned background in corporate finance and leadership at Nabisco, Hershey’s directors appointed West not only because of his strengths in finance, but his proven ability to lead and his in-depth knowledge of the company’s business.
A Pennsylvania native, West joined The Hershey Co. in May 2001 as vice president of business planning and development, and saw a succession of promotions that included senior vice president of business planning development; senior vice president and chief customer officer; and senior vice president and chief financial officer.
At the time of his appointment as CEO, West was executive vice president and chief operating officer, responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations, including Hershey’s North American Commercial Group, International Commercial Group and global supply chain activities.
The Hershey Co., North America’s largest manufacturer of chocolate and sugar confectionery products, has more than 13,000 employees and revenues of nearly $5 billion. Its iconic brands include Hershey’s, Kit Kat, Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s, Milk Duds and York peppermint pattie.
Hershey’s brands are a key offering in convenience stores in every market. Under West’s passionate leadership the company continues to innovate and grow its profitable segments, including the fast-growing dark
and premium chocolates. Hershey’s Bliss has been one of the most successful new products on the market, positioned largely as a premium indulgent chocolate.
In June, West said he’s allocating resources to promote core brands that generate the majority of Hershey’s sales, including increasing those brands’ advertising by 20%.