Willis (“Chris”) E. Lowe III
Chris is a senior marketer and business executive with over 35 years of business experience, domestic and globally. He has worked with, or consulted to, a host of premier package goods companies including General Mills, Kraft, Quaker Oats, Pillsbury, Heinz, and The Coca-Cola Company. He has led businesses in the US and in Latin America and consulted to a host of global business units in the areas of: consumer insights, marketing, and business strategy. He is currently president of Lowe & Associates, a market research and consulting company, where his diverse experience in consumer goods; depth and understanding of brand strategy, consumer and customer insights; and knowledge of expanding brands globally will add value to consumer goods companies.
As President of the Foodservice and On-Premise Division of The Coca-Cola Company, Mr. Lowe was the chief executive in charge of a vertically integrated, $5.5 B business unit. Under his leadership and strategic direction, the business experienced record levels in volume, profit, and market share growth. He was responsible for the development of one of the company’s most significant innovations, the Freestyle dispensing platform, which is viewed as a game changer in the industry. Operating in a marketplace defined by exclusive availability and long term contracts, Mr. Lowe developed a marketing and sales strategy that allowed his operating unit to successfully renegotiate 15% of their portfolio of customer contracts every year with a 95% success rate and always at a premium price to the competition.
Earlier, as President the Central Latin Business Unit he managed the company’s business in 34 countries in Central America and the Caribbean. In his area of responsibility he worked with 24 bottling companies, across five languages, and multiple currencies. He was also responsible for operating the company owned bottling operations in Jamaica, Trinidad, and Tobago. Under Mr. Lowe’s leadership the business unit experienced significant growth in volume, profit, and share.
In the marketing and innovation area, Mr. Lowe has had a number of significant roles. He was the President of Fizzion, LLC which was a wholly owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company tasked with sourcing new innovations to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness of the company’s value chain. As the Chief Marketing Officer for Coca-Cola North America, he reconfigured the business unit’s marketing organization to be more consumer and brand centric and drove new brand introductions such as Vanilla Coke. In the role of Vice President of Worldwide Brand Strategy, he led the development of the positioning and architecture for the company’s brands globally, and the creation of a suite of tools to adapt the global brand strategies to locally relevant ones. As the Vice President of Pre-search, Research, and Trends, Mr. Lowe led the design and implementation of moving the company’s worldwide market research organization to a segmented approach around pre-search (predictive analysis), research (analysis of past data), and trends (predictions of changes to the consumer and customer landscape). In addition, he was responsible for the digitization of The Company’s research data base through the creation of a data warehouse (Inform) and led the design of a digital desktop for brand planning (Brand Planning Tool) where marketing associates could share brand planning work across The Company’s worldwide system.
Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Mr. Lowe was a partner at Marketing Corporation of America in Westport, Ct. In this role he consulted to a host of Fortune 500 companies in marketing, brand, and competitive strategy. Some of his clients included The Pillsbury Company, Heinz, Kraft, The Quaker Oats Company, Sarah Lee, Beiersdorf, and Jacob Suchard.
Mr. Lowe started his career at General Mills where he held a variety of marketing roles, in Minneapolis and London including brand responsibility for the company’s flagship brand, Cheerios.
After receiving a BS in economics from the University of North Carolina, Mr. Lowe attended Wake Forest University where he received a MBA degree with a concentration in Marketing. He is married to Melissa Lowe and has two daughters, Amanda and Meredith. The Lowes live in Atlanta, Georgia.