PITTSBURGH & CHICAGO — The Kraft Heinz Co. established a new leadership team tasked with turning the company around that has struggled with sales the past few years.
In what the company called a “milestone in the company’s turnaround plan,” it named Cory Onell as president of U.S. sales; Sanjiv Gajiwala as U.S. chief growth officer; and Stephanie Peterson as head of U.S. communications.
The appointment of three new senior executives “underscores the company’s commitment to driving sustained growth through customer-centric innovation, strategic investments and talent development,” the company said. “Leveraging extensive functional expertise and business acumen, each leader will bring new, complementary capabilities to the company’s U.S. business, the largest for the organization, and help shape the future of Kraft Heinz."
Kraft Heinz U.S. Zone President Carlos Abrams-Rivera said the new executives will help “accelerate our transformation agenda and drive growth. 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.”
Onell joins Kraft Heinz with more than 20 years of experience leading sales organizations for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. As the head of the U.S. sales organization, he is tasked with driving customer and channel growth by creating solutions that generate shared value while leveraging the power of the iconic Kraft Heinz portfolio to reclaim category leadership. Most recently, Onell served as senior vice president of sales and the head of U.S. retail and customer and commercial teams for the J.M. Smucker Co. after stints at Campbell Soup Co., Kimberly-Clark Corp., Mondelez International and Kraft Foods.
As the U.S. chief growth officer, Gajiwala will champion the company’s focus on consumers in this newly created role. Leveraging insights and analytics, he will lead the charge in commercializing innovations that speak directly to consumer needs and differentiate Kraft Heinz while applying a strategic omnichannel approach to help bring the company’s brands to life in new and exciting ways. Gajiwala joins Kraft Heinz from for Mike's Hard Lemonade Co., where most recently he served as senior vice president of marketing.
Having joined Kraft Heinz at the end of May as the first head of U.S. communications, Peterson will lead all internal and external communications efforts for the U.S. zone business. Before Kraft Heinz, Peterson served in senior-level communications roles at PepsiCo, Kind Snacks and, most recently, IHOP Restaurants.
With headquarters in both Chicago and Pittsburgh, the Kraft Heinz Co. is one of the largest global food and beverage companies, with 2019 net sales of approximately $25 billion. Its brands include Kraft, Heinz, Oscar Mayer, Kool-Ade, Jell-O, Planters and more.