NORTHFIELD, Ill. — Kraft Foods Group is stepping up its marketing efforts by naming 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 ubrands through the development of world-class marketing and innovation that drives consumer engagement and contributes to the company's volume and revenue growth, the company said.
"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 has been with Kraft since 1992.
"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. She earned a Bachelor's degree in marketing and entrepreneurial studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA in marketing and finance from the University of Chicago.
Replacing Elsner is Dino Bianco, who will serve as EVP and president beverages and Canada. He most recently served as EVP and president national businesses and marketing services. Bianco served as president of Kraft Canada for seven years, during which he succeeded in driving strong and sustained revenue and profit growth, building operational efficiency, enhancing customer relations and achieving marketing excellence. 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 VP marketing with responsibility for beverages, desserts, grocery and cereals. He has been with Kraft since 1990.