Frank Cooper, VP-portfolio brands at Pepsi, announced Mr. Kempczinski's departure at the American Advertising Federation's Advertising Hall of Achievement Luncheon, held yesterday in New York. Mr. Kempczinski confirmed the move, citing his daughter's love of Mac & Cheese and the desire to get a company discount.
He did not immediately return calls for further comment.
Kraft spokeswoman Joyce Hodel confirmed that Mr. Kempczinski would be filling an "open position," but declined to say how long it had been vacant, or who is being replaced. The position itself was once divided, with senior VPs steering separate meals and enhancers divisions. Kraft's chief marketer, Mary Beth West, is a past senior VP of the meals division.
In his current post at Pepsi, Mr. Kempczinski handles some of the stronger brands in the portfolio: Aquafina, SoBe, Tropicana, Dole, Amp Energy and Starbucks beverage brands. He joined Pepsi in 2000, in mergers and acquisitions, and was part of the team that incorporated Quaker Oats in 2002.
As a marketer, he is credited with much of the success of the Aquafina "Make your body happy, drink more water" campaign.* Mr. Kempczinski began his marketing career at Procter & Gamble, with four years in its soap sector division, working with brands such as Comet, Mr. Clean and Spic 'n Span.
This move is just the latest in a slew of changes for Pepsi, which in a $1.2 billion brand overhaul last month unveiled an updated logo and shifted its advertising account to TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., earlier this week.
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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incoorectly referred to Dale Earnhardt Jr. as an Aquafina spokesman.