Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Frito-Lay North America
Rachel Ferdinando’s mission is to bring moments of joy (and smiles!) to people through the simple act of snacking. She infuses a sense of purpose across her team and iconic brands within everything they do, because joy is cumulative. Rachel likes to say, “we may be humble snacks, but we have a big purpose in the every day.”
As CMO, Rachel oversees brand marketing, innovation, strategic insights, design and media initiatives for Frito-Lay North America – an $18 billion division of PepsiCo.
Recipient of multiple industry awards and accolades from the likes of The Drum US, Campaign, Dallas Business Journal and Ad Age, Rachel also inspires her team at Frito-Lay with the guiding philosophy that “we aren’t just business stewards; we are icon builders and magic-makers.”
At Frito-Lay, Rachel leads the team that accelerates the growth of brands across the portfolio, including: flavor and format innovation like the launches of the Smartfood Original Glazed Doughnut mashup with Krispy Kreme and Cheetos Mac’n Cheese; overseeing the most successful product launch in company history with Doritos Flamin’ Hot Nacho; evolving the Doritos brand for the next generation (see here);and most recently leading yet another breakthrough Super Bowl initiative with three Frito-Lay campaigns for the first time ever, which included ‘Snap to Steal,’ a first of its kind technology allowing fans to “steal” a bag of Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix through the commercial.
When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit, Rachel led her team to reevaluate the role Frito-Lay brands played and rethink initial 2020 and 2021 marketing plans – shifting from a “sell to serve mindset”. She guided the team to lean into their purpose of providing small moments of joy at a time when they were needed most. She inspired her team to create a campaign in response to the pandemic (see here), focused on the people versus the brands, resulting in the most positive feedback to a spot from consumers in Frito-Lay history. Under Rachel’s leadership, the brands soon followed suit, and by doing so, they played two critical roles in the lives of consumers amid the pandemic: comfort and moments of levity.
COVID-19 wasn’t the only challenge Rachel and her marketing team faced in 2020. With Diversity & Inclusion brought to the forefront, she reinforced the importance of continuing to celebrate and acknowledge diverse voices – at every phase of the creative process – and continue to lead with empathy.
Prior to joining PepsiCo in 2017, Rachel was VP & global sector leader for family care at Kimberly-Clark Corporation. In this position, she was responsible for leading global brands, including Scott and Kleenex, which represented one-third of total company sales and profit.
Earlier in her career, Rachel held various global marketing and general management leadership roles at GlaxoSmithKline, including managing director, VP & general manager for the Malaysia & Brunei operations and VP and global business leader of a global category.
Rachel holds a First Class BSC with Honors degree in chemistry from Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine in London. Originally from Weston-super-Mare in the UK, Rachel currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband, where she enjoys running, cooking and keeping busy with two crazy kids.