The former global chief technology officer of Coca-Cola, Alan Boehme, is trading the effervescent world of soda pop for the day-to-day necessities of detergents, deodorants, daily cleansers, diapers and dental hygiene at Procter & Gamble, TechCrunch has learned.
Boehme will take over as the global chief technology officer and vice president of information technology innovation at P&G, a role that reunites him with Javier Polit, a former Coke executive who serves as P&G’s chief information officer, according to people with knowledge of the move.
It’s not hyperbolic to say that Boehme helped Coca-Cola move into the digital age.
Alongside Coke’s former chief information officer, the late Ed Steinike, Boehme helped transition the soda giant over to public cloud services; helped bring augmented reality technologies into Coke’s sales strategy; accelerated the company’s use of big data and analytics approaches; and helped push Coca-Cola’s adoption of startup technologies through the creation of The Bridge by Coca-Cola.
The move to P&G comes as the entire consumer packaged goods world is confronting a massive shift in customer behavior, and new challenges from unexpected corners.
New direct-to-consumer entrants in key markets, like razors from Dollar Shave Club (which was bought by P&G rival, Unilever, for $1 billion), have tapped into a new marketing movement and demand for new brands. That movement (aided and abetted by venture capital investors) created new category killers in segments like pet food, “organic” soaps, detergents and baby products and even underwear and feminine hygiene products.
At the same time, white-labeled products from companies like Amazon are on the horizon, providing yet another challenge to P&G’s dominance.
Setting aside the competitive landscape, new distribution and resource planning technologies have emerged to transform nearly every level of supply chain management, transportation, data management, market analysis and customer relationship management.
The company certainly needs to do something. Its latest earnings weren’t hugely impressive and after the long, bitter proxy fight it waged with activist investors Trian Partners, it needs to show shareholders it can change.
With the appointment of Boehme, the company may have taken a small step toward doing just that.
P&G has a reputation for hiring internally. Boehme is a fresh face at the historically staid institution. It may be an indication that chief executive David Taylor meant what he said when he stated that P&G was going to build a “profoundly different, much stronger and more profitable company.”
Boehme is taking charge of technology initiatives at an interesting time for the consumer goods industry, and it will be fascinating to watch what he does to drive innovation at one of America’s most iconic consumer goods companies.
We’ve reached out to P&G for comment and will update when we hear back from them.