Fernando Machado steps down as CMO of NotCo
“I will be transitioning from my position as NotCo CMO to become a NotCo advisor,” Machado wrote. “I am not leaving, I am just changing. I will continue to be part of the NotCo journey as an advisor to [NotCo CEO] Matias Muchnick (something that I am truly happy about), but I do feel I need to carve out some time to develop some personal projects (on both the work and personal sides).”
Machado will be replaced by Lousie McKerrow, who will become VP and global head of marketing, Machado said. McKerrow was previously senior director of branding at Mercado Libre, according to her LinkedIn. She has also held roles at digital agency Think Y and spent over a decade at Diageo as marketing director for brands including Smirnoff and Pimm’s.
NotCo, a food-tech company operating in plant-based foods, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Machado joined NotCo in March after a two-year stint as chief marketing officer at Activision Blizzard. He began his career at Unilever as an engineering intern and later spent seven years in marketing at Restaurant Brands International—the parent company of Burger King and Popeyes—including as CMO of Burger King and later global CMO of RBI itself.
His first ads for NotCo came in April, when the brand highlighted how livestock live much shorter lives compared to animals in nature. The ads, by AKQA Bloom, were made using generative AI.
“Right now animals like cows, pigs and chickens that are grown for food only live a fraction of their natural lifespans,” Machado told Ad Age at the time. “We hope this sparks a larger conversation about how we can all do our part to create a better future together—for ourselves, our planet and the animals.”
Under Machado, NotCo and agency MRM Worldwide in Chile won gold at Cannes Lions this year for “We Didn’t Write This Campaign,” featuring ads whose copy came directly from lawsuits against the company filed by big dairy companies.
Recently valued at $1.5 billion, NotCo is backed by packaged food giant Kraft Heinz, which inked a joint venture with the company in February 2022 and created the Kraft Heinz Not Company, which is headquartered in Chicago. NotCo helped release Kraft-branded vegan cheese slices and vegan mayonnaise in the U.S. NotCo also worked with Philadelphia Cream Cheese to make a vegan version of the schmear, and was on Shake Shack menus with vegan ice cream.
Getting consumers to go with vegan options is a challenge, though the sector has been growing as consumers look to eat healthier and be more environmentally conscious. The global plant-based food market was valued at $44.5 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $50.4 billion this year, according to The Business Research Company.
NotCo recently started focusing on the shelf-stable milk category and has been expanding distribution in the U.S. of its plant-based burgers and plant-based chicken sandwiches, Muchnick recently told Food Navigator. The company is also looking to build out its business-to-business arm as a software-as-a-service offering. NotCo also has an AI-driven platform, nicknamed Giuseppe, that analyzes the taste, texture and smell of animal-based foods and replicates them using only plant-based ingredients.
“You’ll see NotCo [be] like a ChatGPT of food … so a whole business around software as a service, and that’s what NotCo can do and what we’re aiming to do in 2024,” Muchnick told Food Navigator. “We’ve been in many conversations with many companies, and we are now going into pilots with many companies out there.”