Panel discussion: Pet food, retailer and e-commerce execs: the new world of selling pet food

Join executives from top pet food companies and leading pet retailers to learn how to navigate today’s disruptive, continually morphing world of distributing and selling pet food. Pet owners have more choices than ever for finding and purchasing their pet food, from burgeoning e-commerce options to “click and mortar” to customization to traditional neighborhood pet shops, superstores and grocery/mass market outlets. Distributor consolidation is also playing a role. With this explosion of market changes and options, how can pet food brands figure out the best channels and retailing strategies for their products?

Panel members:

Chris Hamilton, president and CEO of Red Collar Pet Foods

Nathan Marafioti, group director of e-commerce with Nestlé Purina North America

Brock Weatherup, executive chief strategic innovation and digital experience officer with Petco

Jacinthe Moreau, president of World Pet Association

Moderator Ed Yuhas, managing partner with Kincannon & Reed Executive Search

Panelist bios:

Hamilton currently serves as the president and CEO of Red Collar Pet Foods. Red Collar is a former division of Mars Petcare, which is a top employer in the city of Franklin, Tennessee, and other communities across the United States. Over 600 associates are proud to work at Red Collar, one of North America’s largest producer of private label and contract label pet food and treats. In this rapidly changing and dynamic category of Petcare, Red Collar has been part of building some of America’s best-loved brands.

Marafioti has over five years of experience in e-commerce-focused roles and prior experience as a senior marketing leader. Being able to see how the different pieces of an organization fit together (sales, media, marketing, shopper, supply, etc.) within a strategic framework has helped him to gain alignment as he tries to translate e-commerce in the language of large organizations. Prior to his role at Nestlé, Marafioti served in other FMCG companies (RB & SCJ) where he successfully built brands and innovated in marketing roles and transitioned into the e-commerce channel to provide leadership in the fast-growing space. Marafioti holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Binghamton University and a master’s degree in business administration from Syracuse Business School.

Moreau is president of World Pet Association (WPA). She has broad international experience in the animal health industry. Her career trajectory, which includes a variety of roles at companies such as Vetoquinol, Merial, Merck, VetSource and VCA Animal Hospitals, has prepared her to lead WPA. In her position at VCA Animal Hospitals – a network comprised of over 850 hospitals – Moreau was responsible for the development and rollout of the company’s private brand of pharmaceuticals, parasiticides and dermatology products, the most extensive private brand line in the veterinary industry. She also spearheaded VCA e-commerce service to consumers, making it easier for pet owners to care for their pets. She created and led a team of marketing consultants to help veterinary hospitals across the country become more successful. Moreau earned a bachelor of science in marketing from the University of Quebec in Montreal.

Weatherup was most recently executive vice president and chief innovation officer of digital experience at Petco. In that role, he was responsible for fostering and accelerating innovation across Petco’s business, incubating new ideas and ensuring the company’s long-term relevance, and leads Petco’s e-commerce and digital strategy. He joined Petco in 2017 when the company acquired PetCoach, of which he was CEO and co-founder. PetCoach is a first-of-its-kind pet care store concept offering a high-quality suite of personalized pet services, products and experiences, designed through a veterinary lens to address total pet health and wellness. Previously, Weatherup was a venture partner of tech accelerator ICONYC Labs and managing director of his angel investment fund, Atai Ventures. He also served as senior vice president and chief digital officer at PetSmart after selling Pet360, a venture-backed leading consumer engagement, digital media and subscription e-commerce company, where he was CEO for five years. Weatherup was co-founder and CEO of startup Fathead and a senior leader at InterActiveCorp, a media entertainment company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and tourism from the University of Colorado.

Yuhas is a managing partner with Kincannon & Reed Executive Search. Prior to joining Kincannon & Reed, which places senior-level executives in the agribusiness, food and life sciences industries, Yuhas spent 30 years in leadership positions in the food, lawn and garden, and companion animal/pet food categories — all in consumer-packaged goods. A classically trained marketer by background, he has also led sales organizations and served as a general manager with complete profit and loss (P&L) responsibility for plant operations, quality assurance/food safety, research and development (R&D), finance and human resources. Yuhas has worked for a broad range of companies including Borden, Spectrum Brands, Nestlé and Mars. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in business administration from Drexel University.