New Senior Leaders to Shape Heineken USA’s Retail Support, Innovation

Heineken USA appointed two new senior leaders to enhance its retail support and innovation. Nick Lake is the new senior director, category management, and Monique Acevedo is the new VP of innovation.

Lake, who comes on board Oct. 11, will report to Steve Ward, VP of national accounts. He will be responsible for directing all Heineken USA category management activity, leading 16 category managers focused on national and regional off-premise and on-premise chain accounts. He will also lead the White Plains, N.Y.-based company’s drive to provide thought leadership and actionable insights to retailers that will enable them to grow the Heineken USA portfolio, as well as the entire upscale segment of the beer category.

“This hire supports our commitment to making significant investments that will help Heineken USA develop a leading-edge shopper insight capability and upgrade our customer and category management processes,” Ward explained. “Nick’s deep understanding of category dynamics, outstanding track record of identifying growth opportunities and widespread industry respect make him the perfect candidate for this position. We are confident that he will enhance our ability to help our retailer customers drive profitable growth of upscale beers.”

Lake joins Heineken USA from the Schaumburg, Ill.-based Nielsen Co. where he was VP, group client director for the beverage alcohol industry. At Nielsen, he was responsible for providing insights across the Nielsen Beverage Alcohol client base for the eastern region, and business development across the alcohol category. Previous to that position, Lake spent 11 years with Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble in a variety of sales and category management positions.

Acevedo will act as a member of the marketing leadership team and report to Lesya Lesyj, chief marketing officer. Heineken created her position to support its efforts to expand its innovation capabilities. Acevedo will lead innovation for all Heineken USA brands and manage its innovation team. The innovation team will be responsible for leveraging insights that are consistent with the organization's strategic vision to develop an innovation strategy, as well as leading innovation planning and all related projects.

“We have identified innovation as a major strategic growth opportunity area for our business,” said Lesyj. “Monique brings a wealth of experience, creativity and big thinking to the organization, and having her in this role will ensure that developing innovative products and marketing techniques remains a priority moving forward.”

Acevedo comes to the company from Norwalk, Conn.-based Diageo, where her most recent position was director of innovation. In that role, she was responsible for leading the innovation strategy and business plan for a $50 million net sales value pipeline of highly differentiated new products from concept through launch, including Crown Royal Black and Bulleit Rye Whiskey. Before joining Diageo, Acevedo spent eight years at the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. in various roles.

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