Heineken USA CMO Leaves for Weight Watchers

Lesya Lysyj Exits After Nearly Three-Year Stint

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Heineken USA Chief Marketing Officer Lesya Lysyj is leaving the beer importer to become the president of Weight Watchers North America.

Lesya Lysyj
Lesya Lysyj

"This is a special opportunity for Lesya to take the next step in her career from CMO into a President role. While we will miss her, we are very proud of her," Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink said in a memo to employees on Thursday. "Her successor will be named in the coming months," he said, noting her last day would be Nov. 15.

A Weight Watchers spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Ms. Lysyj joined Heineken in early 2011 from Kraft Foods, where she was VP for confectionary in the U.S. At Heineken she oversaw several ad agency changes, including shifting the flagship Heineken brand to Wieden & Kennedy in 2011. In the memo, Mr. van den Brink credited her with championing the importer's attempt at "reinventing beer marketing," which entailed challenging "conventional beer norms [and] engaging core consumers in a fresh, relevant way."

She will confront major challenges at Weight Watchers, which must adapt to a world in which dieters are turning to free online competitors that offer their own calorie-counting apps.

Heineken is also making other changes, including creating a department called commercial marketing that Mr. van den Brink described as "an expanded version of the former trade marketing function and will also include category management and commercial planning." The company is also creating a senior VP position overseeing commercial marketing, according to the employee memo. Taking the role is Dirk de Vos, who was formerly VP-commercial planning and activation at Diageo.

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