Five Things You Might Not Know About ConAgra's Darren Serrao

Chief Growth Officer Has Natural Curiosity About Almost Everything

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Darren Serrao
Darren Serrao Credit: ConAgra

ConAgra named Darren Serrao to the new post of chief growth officer on Aug. 17. Mr. Serrao previously spent years at Campbell Soup, most recently as senior VP-chief marketing and commercial officer for Campbell's Americas Simple Meals and Beverages division, that company's largest unit, encompassing everything from Campbell Soup to V8. Before Campbell, Mr. Serrao was with PepsiCo and Unilever.

Here are a few things you might not know about Mr. Serrao:

1. He has worked on some America's most iconic brands, but grew up outside of the U.S. Mr. Serrao is from Trinidad and Tobago, the islands off the coast of South America. (His parents and grandparents were also native to Trinidad, with family ties to Portugal and Spain.) He graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.

2. As VP-innovation and business development at Campbell, Mr. Serrao worked on a way to target millennials with Campbell's Go soup, a line of pouched soup with updated flavors such as Golden Lentil with Madras Curry. Campbell's spread the world with "Communal Tables" events in New York and Chicago -- hour-long chats and chews (or sips) for small groups. The pitch also included pacts with BuzzFeed, Spotify and Angry Birds Star Wars.

Mr. Serrao might be best known for launch efforts such as Campbell's Go soups and dinner sauces, but he may be most proud of longer-term projects that changed brand trajectories. "Efforts that lead to this type of inflection in business performance are typically the result of a collection of deliberate changes across the full marketing mix that significantly enhance or change the competitiveness of a brand," Mr. Serrao said. Two examples: Early in his career he was senior brand manager on Unilever's Canadian laundry brands when that team relaunched the business. Later on at Campbell, he was part of a team that helped nearly double the size of V8 as the brand expanded beyond its well-known vegetable juice into a broader portfolio.

3. He's already familiar with his CEO's management style. Sean Connolly, who became CEO of ConAgra in March, was president of Campbell's North American business in the early 2000s.

4. Mr. Serrao's brother Gavin works at Campbell in the supply chain/manufacturing area. Mr. Serrao said he wasn't involved in his brother's hiring, adding, "it would be a constant source of some good natured, big-brother type, jokes if I had."

5. He's a big fan of the Discovery Channel "and programming ranging from wilderness survival to muscle car builds." "I have a fairly diverse and wide range of interests that are driven by a natural curiosity about almost everything - including the unusual and obscure," Mr. Serrao said.

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