When Tracey Doucette began her career selling soap for Procter & Gamble Co., many of her days were spent scraping gum off store shelves. "It was a humbling but great experience," says the VP-general manager for the North American Coffee Partnership between Starbucks Corp. and Pepsi-Cola North America.
|Tracey Doucette, VP-general manager for the North American Coffee Partnership between Starbucks Corp. and Pepsi-Cola North America
It's that attention to detail that has helped propel the 42-year-old to the top spot in one of the most successful businesses in beverages.
"I try to participate and be present in any experience I'm in," Ms. Doucette says, recalling an unsolicited piece of advice she got from a co-worker when she was screaming up the ranks at P&G and Pepsi. The advice was to "focus on what you can learn from a position and focus on doing your best in that position, and the rest will come," she says.
"She's one of those people, regardless of the issue, she's going to dive in and understand everything, and she'll become an expert at it and not be afraid to tackle every issue," says Cie Nicholson, senior VP-chief marketing officer for Pepsi-Cola North America.
Ms. Nicholson credits Ms. Doucette for the strong results on last year's Frappuccino Mint Mocha launch and says buzz on this year's Starbucks Iced Coffee launch has been positive. "She's pushed the innovation agenda."
Under the partnership, Pepsi bottles and distributes Starbucks-branded coffee drinks, such as the new canned Iced Coffee, to supermarkets, convenience stores and other outlets. Bottled Frappuccino, Iced Coffee and DoubleShot are the core. Frappuccino sales through the 52 weeks ended April 16 were up 20% over a year ago, to $164.9 million, in supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchandisers (excluding Wal-Mart), according to Information Resources Inc. Frappuccino had an 82% share of the canned/bottled cappuccino/iced coffee segment in those outlets.
The signs of Ms. Doucette's potential were evident in her early childhood. While she aspired to be a lawyer, she and her three sisters would clear out the sample room from her grandfather's specialty ad agency and sell pencils door to door. They'd use the proceeds to treat mom and dad to dinner at an unmentionable fast-food joint ("It's a Coke pour").
As far as beverages, Ms. Doucette's favorite is a quad-grande-skim-dry-caramel-machiatto-light-on-the-caramel. She spends her weekends playing tennis and biking with her husband and two children.