The company, which houses brands such as Oscar Mayer, Jello, Planters and Kraft Mac & Cheese, was created last year when the former Kraft Foods Inc. split in two. Mondelez International was formed for snacking and candy brands such as Oreo and Trident. Longtime Kraft CMO Mary Beth West joined Mondelez in the same position, as did marketer Dana Anderson. However, Kraft Foods Group had been operating without a CMO since the split took effect on October 1.
"Kraft is focusing its resources and energies on leveraging our great brands, people and innovation to drive growth," said CEO Tony Vernon in a statement. "Establishing the CMO position will enable us to harness the power of these tremendous assets."
Elsner joined Kraft in 1992 and since 2010 has overseen the beverages business, guiding brands such as Maxwell House coffee, Kool-Aid, Capri Sun and Country Time. She recently oversaw the successful launch of Mio, which launched in 2011 as the first nationally marketed "liquid water enhancer." Kraft this year is backing the brand with a Super Bowl spot in a sign that it sees its beverages business as a key driver. Elsner previously managed Kraft's European coffee business. Her resume also includes stints at Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.
Kraft named Dino Bianco, currently exec VP-president for national businesses and marketing services, to fill Elsner's old role, where his title will be exec VP-president of beverages and Canada.
Before Elsner's promotion, day-to-day marketing was led by Debra Berman, who as VP-marketing and engagement also oversees media strategy. She will keep this role and now report directly to Elsner.
Kraft Foods Group brands spent $496 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2011, the latest full year available, according to Kantar Media.