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Gatorade selects O’Hagan as chief marketing officer

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW YORK Sports beverage, Gatorade, has named Sarah Robb O’Hagan as its new chief marketing officer, the company announced last week. O’Hagan will lead marketing efforts at The Gatorade Co., a division of PepsiCo in the United States. She will also lead efforts overseeing the core business, as well as new and emerging markets.

O’Hagan will have input in Gatorade’s marketing across Latin America, the company said. The creation of the new PepsiCo Americas Beverage sector has made Gatorade in Latin America the biggest Gatorade market outside of the U.S.

Prior to taking on her new role at Gatorade, O’Hagan worked in general management and marketing at Nike for almost six years. She was recently posted as general manager of Nike’s western region.

Before Nike, O’Hagan was vice president of U.S. marketing at Atari Entertainment. She has also worked in marketing for the Virgin Atlantic Airways North America and Virgin Entertainment Group.

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Hershey tuning its ears to customer comments, sets plan for long-term net sales boost

BY Jenna Duncan

HERSHEY, Pa. The Hershey Co. said it will announce its plan for meeting long-term for net sales goals and increasing earnings per share growth today. The company said that a new plan was developed after Hershey completed a market structure/category segmentation review. The company will also realign its plans to focus on the interests of key consumer segments to help drive growth.

Hershey said it is readjusting its resources and plans to beef up its advertising by about 20 percent in 2008 and 2009. A focus will be directed on core brands currently generating around 60 percent of the company’s U.S. net sales.

“Our extensive consumer research validates our strategy of increasing advertising and consumer investment behind the core U.S. brands that offer the greatest potential for growth,” David J. West, president and chief executive officer said. “We will combine this focused approach with consumer-centric innovation and continued international expansion to achieve our long-term net sales growth rate of 3 to 5 percent. Longer term, as marketplace trends improve and targeted consumer initiatives are executed, the Company expects to generate earnings per share growth of 6 to 8 percent.”

Hershey has said that it estimates its total net growth for 2008 to be at around 3 to 4 percent. Earnings per share were expected to be around $1.85 to $1.90. Hershey’s management planned to discuss the new strategy and long-term goals at a meeting with investors earlier this morning.

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Coca-Cola announces debut of new bottle design in select cities

BY Jenna Duncan

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., and CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. Two U.S. cities will be the launch sites of Coca-Cola’s newly redesigned, “iconic contour” two-liter bottle, Coca-Cola Company has said.

Coca-Cola said that it selected Birmingham and Chattanooga to launch the contoured bottles because of their “long-standing loyalty to the soft drink,” and because bottler Coca-Cola United is located in Birmingham.

Coca-Cola also said the new “iconic” shape of the two-liter bottle was selected over a straight version in consumer tests. The company said that consumers reported the contoured bottle is easier to hold and pour from, and they said the new design would boost sales.

The new bottle debuts in stores today. All of Coca-Cola’s brands will soon be available in the new bottle.

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