- Albertsons has named former PepsiCo executive Jennifer Saenz as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, the grocer announced on Wednesday.
- Saenz, who most recently served as global chief marketing officer and president of PepsiCo’s global foods division, brings more than 15 years of experience in the CPG sector.
- Saenz is joining at a time when Albertsons is looking to strengthen its private label selection and brand partnerships as part of its “transformation strategy,” President and CEO Vivek Sankaran said in a statement.
Bringing on Saenz is the latest move for Albertsons in its years-long efforts to revitalize and ramp up its private label offerings, which are bringing in higher margins for the grocer than national brands.
While at PepsiCo, Saenz oversaw the company’s $30 billion portfolio of foods as chief marketing officer and, from 2015 to 2019, drove growth for the $16 billion snacking portfolio as senior vice president and CMO of PepsiCo Foods North America, according to the press release. From 2009-2015, she worked on brand and customer marketing for PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay brand.
Saenz, who starts in the new role on July 12, will head up Albertsons’ merchandising division, including its private labels, and take the lead on boosting the grocer’s brand partnerships. She will report to Sankaran.
Saenz’s global industry experience, along with her marketing, analytics and product innovation skills to drive growth, are particularly vital to “elevate the Albertsons brand for our customers, brand partners and associates,” Sankaran said in a statement.
For the past few years, Albertsons has worked to expand its private label offerings, adding frozen desserts, sustainable wines and more sparkling water flavors. Albertsons’ private label penetration is more than 25% and Sankaran said during an earnings call in April that it is expected to reach 30% in the coming years.
Albertsons has also made a number of recent investments in boosting its e-commerce business as it looks to continue its strong digital sales growth during the pandemic. For example, the grocer is testing automated micro-fulfillment technology and piloting remote-controlled delivery carts. The grocer is also continuing to expand Drive Up & Go and aims to have the pickup service at nearly all of its stores by the end of the year.