Danone North America scoops up Gemma Hart to lead comms

Hart is set to leave her role as Anheuser-Busch's comms head on April 17.

Photo credit: Diana Bradley
Photo credit: Diana Bradley

WHITE PLAINS, NY: Dairy and infant-nutrition company Danone North America has hired Anheuser-Busch’s Gemma Hart as VP of communications and community affairs.

She is scheduled to start in the newly created role in mid-May, based in Danone’s White Plains, New York, office and reporting to Michelle Weese, general secretary for Danone North America. Hart said she will oversee 14 staffers and all corporate and brand communications, including internal and external comms and community affairs.

Hart described Danone as "a blank sheet of paper in the U.S." with a unique story to tell.

"Danone is an iconic brand in France and many other parts of the world and yet is relatively unknown as a consumer goods company in the U.S.," said Hart. "That is the opportunity, and that is why I am joining: to reintroduce the brand in the U.S. It is a transformational opportunity."

Danone's U.S. businesses includes Activia, DanActive, Danimals, Dannon, Danonino, Light & Fit and Oikos.

Hart also described Danone as a "B Corporation," meaning it is "looking at the balance of economic and social value hand-in-hand."

Hart is currently VP of comms at Anheuser-Busch, part of Anheuser-Busch InBev. Her last day at the brewer is set for April 17. The company is looking at internal and external candidates to replace Hart. Before joining Anheuser-Busch in January 2016, she worked at Brunswick Group for 12 years, most recently as partner.

"I have a great team at Anheuser-Busch, so I am confident [the transition] will be seamless," she said. "This is a bittersweet move for me because the company is fantastic."

Anheuser Busch’s Bud Light brand has been duking it out with rival MillerCoors since Super Bowl LIII after Bud Light took a shot at Miller Lite and Coors Light for including corn syrup in their ingredients. The back-and-forth has included ads and stunts, but it took a more serious turn in late March when MillerCoors filed a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch, seeking an injunction to stop Bud Light’s ad campaign.

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