Frito Lay CMO Ram Krishnan Promoted to Role Managing PepsiCo's Walmart Business

His Replacement Is Innovation VP Jennifer Saenz

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Ram Krishnan
Ram Krishnan

Frito-Lay North America Chief Marketing Officer Ram Krishnan is leaving the post for a broader role within PepsiCo where he will become senior VP and general manager overseeing Walmart.

The retail giant is a critical customer for PepsiCo. Mr. Krishnan, who was CMO since 2014, will be replaced at Frito-Lay by Jennifer Saenz, according to a Frito-Lay spokesman. She was promoted to the senior VP-CMO from her current post of VP-marketing innovation. Previously, she led marketing for the Lay's potato chip brand. The CMO job gives her oversight of brand marketing, innovation, design, strategic insights and analytics "across the Frito-Lay North America snack and convenient foods portfolio," the Frito-Lay spokesman said. Ms. Saenz was an Ad Age Woman to Watch in 2015.

Mr. Krishnan is known as a digitally savvy marketer who steered portions of Frito-Lay's marketing budget into experimental marketing efforts. For instance, the marketer leaned heavily on social media when it brought Doritos "Roulette" bags to the U.S. last year. The packages included what appear to be identical, regular nacho-cheese-flavored chips, but one out of every six chips was super spicy.

He also had a reputation for eschewing the traditional agency-of-record model in favor of using a variety of shops. "I hate to say one brand is with one agency for eternity," he said in a 2015 interview. "The way we look at it is: Who is the best-suited for what we are trying to do with the consumer and the message?"

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