Next month, PepsiCo marketing chief and food division president Jennifer Saenz is slated to join Albertsons Cos. as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer.
Plans call for Saenz to start at Albertsons on July 12, the Boise, Idaho-based food and drug retailer said Wednesday. She will take the reins from executive VP and chief merchant Geoff White, who has taken a leave of absence, according to the company.
Saenz will oversee all areas of merchandising, including the Own Brands private-label portfolio, and be charged with bolstering relationships with brand partners, Albertsons said. As part of the senior leadership team, she will report to president and CEO Vivek Sankaran.
“I am honored to join Albertsons and to work with Vivek and the company’s talented management team,” Saenz (left) said in a statement. “Albertsons is undertaking a transformation that is further strengthening its position as an industry leader focused on deepening its relationship with customers. I am excited to leverage my experience and partner with our vendors to continue providing great products and great value to our customers.”
The 43-year-old Saenz brings more than 15 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector to Albertsons, including roles of increasing responsibility at PepsiCo since 2005. Currently at PepsiCo, she serves as global chief marketing officer and president of global foods, overseeing the $30 billion PepsiCo Foods portfolio, a role she has held since 2019.
From 2015 to 2019, Saenz served as senior VP and chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Foods North America, where she spurred growth and innovation for the $16 billion snacking products portfolio, according to Albertsons. Before that, from 2009 to 2015, she held a range of brand and customer marketing positions within the Frito-Lay business units.
“We’re excited to welcome Jennifer to the Albertsons team,” Sankaran stated. “A commitment to serving our customers with a broad and differentiated assortment of products is a key aspect of our transformation strategy. Jennifer’s extensive global industry experience and proven track record of driving growth through marketing, analytics and product innovation, grounded in a deep understanding of the consumer, will allow her to make significant contributions to our business and elevate the Albertsons brand for our customers, brand partners and associates.”
White (left) has served as Albertsons’ chief merchandising officer since being elevated to the post in September 2019, taking over from Shane Sampson, who left the company that month after serving as both chief merchant and chief marketing officer since January 2015. Previously, White was president of Own Brands.
Since Sankaran, former CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America, took the helm at Albertsons in April 2019, several onetime Pepsi executives have joined the retailer’s management team, including Omer Gajial, senior VP of pharmacy and health; Alice Chan, VP of Own Brands sales and marketing; and Mike Theilmann, executive VP and chief human resources officer.
Overall, Albertsons Cos. operates 2,277 stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under 20 retail banners, such as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lovers Market.