Heineken USA Enhances Retail Partner Support, Innovation

Lake appointed senior director of category management, Acevedo as VP of innovation

Nick Lake

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Heineken USA has appointed two new senior leaders. It named Nick Lake as the company's new senior director of category management, effective October 11. Lake will report to Steve Ward, vice president of national accounts. It named Monique Acevedo as vice president of innovation, effective September 28. Acevedo will act as a member of the marketing leadership team and report directly to Lesya Lesyj, chief marketing officer.

In his role, Lake will be responsible for directing all Heineken USA category management activity, leading 16 category managers focused on national and regional off-premise and on-premise chain accounts. He will also lead Heineken USA's drive to provide thought leadership and actionable insights to retailers that will enable them to grow the Heineken USA portfolio, as well as the entire upscale segment of the beer category.

"This hire supports our commitment to making significant investments that will help Heineken USA develop a leading-edge shopper insight capability and upgrade our customer and category management processes," said Ward. "Nick's deep understanding of category dynamics, outstanding track record of identifying growth opportunities and widespread industry respect make him the perfect candidate for this position. We are confident that he will enhance our ability to help our retailer customers drive profitable growth of upscale beers."

Most recently, Lake served as vice president group client director for the beverage alcohol industry for Nielsen. There, he was responsible for providing insights across the Nielsen Beverage Alcohol client base for the eastern region and business development across the alcohol category. While at Nielsen, he also played an instrumental role in the design and execution of the industry's first comprehensive sales tracking service for the convenience channel.

"After spending years studying and analyzing alcohol beverage trends on a broad scale, I am thrilled at the opportunity to put my insights into action to help one of the most iconic and well respected organizations in the industry better serve their partners, and in turn, drive growth," said Lake. "It is apparent that Heineken USA sees retailers as true partners in this business, and I look forward to identifying opportunities and implementing strategies that will help both parties reach their true potential."

Before Nielsen, Lake spent 11 years with Proctor & Gamble in a variety of sales and category management positions.

Heineken USA created a new role, vice president of innovation, to support efforts to expand its innovation capabilities. Acevedo will lead innovation for all Heineken USA brands and manage its innovation team. The innovation team will be responsible for leveraging insights that are consistent with the organization's strategic vision to develop an innovation strategy as well as leading innovation planning and all related projects.

"We have identified innovation as a major strategic growth opportunity area for our business," said Lesyj. "Monique brings a wealth of experience, creativity and big thinking to the organization, and having her in this role will ensure that developing innovative products and marketing techniques remains a priority moving forward."

Acevedo joins Heineken USA from Diageo, where she most recently served as director of innovation. In that role, she was responsible for leading the innovation strategy and business plan for a $50 million net sales value pipeline of highly differentiated new products from concept through to launch, including Crown Royal Black and Bulleit Rye Whiskey. Prior to her role at Diageo, Acevedo spent eight years at The Coca-Cola Co. in various roles. There, she played an instrumental role in the development and launch of Dasani Water, Sprite Zero and Vanilla Coke.

White Plains, N.Y.-based Heineken USA Inc., a leading beer importer, is a subsidiary of Heineken International BV. European brands imported into the United States include Heineken Lager, Heineken Light, Amstel Light, Newcastle Brown Ale and Buckler nonalcoholic brew. Heineken USA is also the exclusive U.S. importer for the Tecate, Tecate Light, Dos Equis, Sol, Carta Blanca and Bohemia brands from Mexico.