Robert Gamgort, Keurig Green Mountain

homeworld players gamgortThe August 15 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 11th Annual “Players,” people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.

Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, the Players represent a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.

The HomeWorld Players are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.

Robert Gamgort, Keurig Green Mountain, CEO

PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Robert Gamgort has a long history in the world of consumer products. Prior to joining Keurig earlier this year as its new CEO, Gamgort was CEO of Pinnacle Foods, the parent company of several leading food brands including Birds Eye and Duncan Hines. While at Pinnacle, Gamgort led the company through its IPO in 2013, where the stock rose from $22 per share to $46 per share the day prior to the announcement of his departure from the company. In fact, the announcement that Gamgort was joining Keurig led to an 11% drop in Pinnacle shares the same day.

WHAT TO WATCH: Gamgort takes over Keurig at a time when the coffee supplier has struggled with several new appliance introductions. The launch of its 2.0 coffeemaker platform two years ago was met with dissatisfaction from consumers and retailers. This year, Keurig discontinued its Kold home beverage maker system just months after a splashy introduction. The unit, which made cold soft drinks that included several well-known Coca-Cola flavors, was knocked by many for its retail price and the pricing of the flavor pods.

While Keurig still occupies a significant amount of shelf space at retailers, maintaining that space going forward will be a major challenge facing Gamgort. New products are the lifeblood of small electrics suppliers and the company has not enjoyed a big new hit in recent years. How the new Keurig CEO translates his successes at Pinnacle and his knowledge of consumer needs as it pertains to home coffeemaking will be watched.

PERSPECTIVE: Gamgort has a track record of success in consumer products, which includes his seven-year tenure at Pinnacle and before that as North American president for Mars Incorporated. While Keurig officials were clearly pleased that Gamgort was joining their company, his departure from Pinnacle was viewed by some in the investment community as a loss for the company. As for Gamgort, he sees “significant opportunity” with Keurig to build on what he said is the company’s unique combination of brands, partners and technologies.

2017 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):