Jason West is a Partner with The Partnering Group with a focus on business and brand strategies, marketing best practices, new product innovation, commercial & business model innovation, and portfolio management & reinvention.
Partner Capabilities and Experience:
Jason brings two decades of CPG brand leadership – having grown up in marketing but having also led a commercial team (sales/marketing/R&D). Jason was most recently CMO of Tabasco (McIlhenny Company), where he led the iconic 148 year old brand to a refined positioning and targeted marketing strategy – leading a category U&A, the company’s first consumer segmentation model, a tailored brand positioning statement, the implementation of a number of consumer-led analytic tools, and a highly targeted digital marketing & in-store consumer acquisition program.
Prior to Tabasco, Jason was CMO for Heinz North America – where he had a number of roles with increasing complexity. As CMO, Jason repaired the Heinz Ketchup brand strategy, developed highly successful Super Bowl advertising (# 5 of 57 SB ads – AceMetrix – measure of business impact), re-established a stage gate innovation process, and established the first ever Heinz/3G North American strategic plan – including a vision for expansion of Heinz brand that has subsequently unfolded into new product categories (mustard, BBQ). The North American team delivered a plan to expand EBITDA margins by nearly 40%.
In his previous roles at Heinz, Jason had three noteworthy assignments, each spanning 2-3 years:
- Jason was Commercial Executive for Heinz South Africa for 3 years. In that role, he had responsibility for sales, marketing, and R&D (~30 person team). He was part of turning around the business from ~1% growth to 3.5% in his first year and then putting strong business plans in place to grow a +9% CAGR for his last two years.
- Prior to the South African assignment, he led the Winter Brands portfolio (Classico Pasta Sauce, Heinz Gravy, and Wyler’s Bullion). Driven by strong work on Classico and Heinz gravy, the business plan delivered strong financial results for that two year assignment (+9% operating income CAGR).
- Jason’s first role at Heinz was leading a portion of the frozen snacks portfolio, consisting of TGI Friday’s and Poppers brands. Jason oversaw a comprehensive business planning process – pulling five key levers in route to record-setting results, a +14% operating income CAGR over the 3 years.
Prior to his time at Heinz, Jason had 6+ years at Procter & Gamble brand management and 2 years in investment banking at NationsBank (now Bank of America).
Partner Industry Experience:
- P&L Management. Jason’s management experience is comprehensive – delivering plans beyond marketing – leveraging pricing, cost-out, re-sizing, trade spend optimization, and other levers to deliver financial results.
- Consumer Segmentation & Brand Positioning. Jason has had the opportunity both to establish segmentation and positioning on brands where little/none existed, as well as refining or fixing models that were broken or askew. This was often not from complicating matters, but simplifying via tools like the Strategic Choices Framework.
- 3G Processes. Jason was part of establishing the first ever Heinz ZBB budget – accordingly bringing a sense for the most productive elements of the 3G approach – including elimination of non-value added marketing spends (particularly in the area of non-working spend).
- New Product Innovation. Jason has worked on a host of innovation products – ranging from retailer-customized to non-traditional to fully slotted launches. In particular, he has experience with a wide range of consumer learning paths – allowing him to right-size innovation budgets to get the right amount of spend/consumer-guidance. Further, he has experience of establishing a 3G-friendly Stage Gate Process.
- Organization Design and Implementation. Jason has experience both establishing a marketing academy (Heinz North America) as well as changing sales & marketing organization design and compensation models (Heinz South Africa).
- Global / Portfolio Strategy. Jason has experience with comprehensive long-range strategic planning. In Heinz South Africa, he established a vision for expanding product categories to allow Heinz to pursue lower-income consumers – to create a broader basket of goods important for SA retailers. At Heinz North America, Jason led the first 3G NA Strategic Plan – establishing priorities for resource allocation and a vision for the Heinz brand for category expansion (ultimately into mustard and BBQ).
Jason graduated summa cum laude from Texas A&M with a degree in finance before graduating with honors with an MBA from The University of Chicago.
Area(s) of Expertise:
- Brand Strategy, Targeting, and Positioning
- P&L Management, Marketing Metrics
- New Product Innovation
- Marketing Training