ST. LOUIS — Nestlé Purina PetCare announced Nov. 2 that Nina Leigh Krueger, previous president of Purina PetCare United States, will transition into the role of chief executive officer and president of Purina PetCare for the Americas. Krueger will become Purina’s first female chief executive officer.

She will replace Joseph R. Sivewright, who will step down from his position as chief executive officer of Purina PetCare for the Americas region and continue as chairman of Nestlé’s board of directors. This transition will be complete Jan. 1, 2021.

“Joe’s depth of experience, sound judgment and ability to skillfully lead a large organization has led to amazing growth and has Purina positioned for a bright future,” said Laurent Freixe, chief executive officer of Nestlé’s Zone Americas. “Nina Leigh’s business acumen, exceptional leadership and communication skills, and ability to bring out the best in people make her the ideal successor to guide Purina for years to come.”  

Krueger has spent 27 years of her career with Purina, starting in 1993 as a brand management intern before joining the company’s marketing team for cat food products in 1994. She led the marketing integration of Purina when it was purchased by Nestlé in 2001.

Additionally, Krueger led Purina’s cat litter division as vice president of marketing from 2010 to 2015, where she drove innovations such as Tidy Cats LightWeight Litter. In 2015, she became chief marketing officer of Nestlé Purina United States, and in 2016 she became president of Nestlé Purina United States.

“I truly am honored by this opportunity,” Krueger said. “I look forward to working with our Purina team to accelerate our strong momentum and to build on our more than 90-year history of making science-based dog and cat foods, treats and cat litter that pet owners trust.  We will continue to run our business safely and provide consumers with high-quality nutrition that helps pets live longer, healthier lives.”

Krueger earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Miami University in Ohio, followed by a Master of Business Administration from Washington University. In 2017, Washington University’s Olin School of Business presented Krueger with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

“Nina Leigh is the perfect choice to lead this company into a winning future,” Sivewright said. “Throughout her 27-year Purina career, she has played a vital role in our many successes during a time of great complexity in the pet care business. She has a proven track record of bringing innovation to market and leading key global brands and initiatives. In addition, Nina Leigh has an established history of leadership, getting the very best from our associates while keeping our Purina culture top of mind.”

Joseph R. Sivewright, the former chief executive officer and president of Purina PetCare for the Americas, will become chairman of the board.

Throughout Sivewright’s 35-year tenure with Purina, he has held various leadership roles in marketing for Purina PetCare, as well as Nestlé’s cereals and new products divisions. He became vice president of Purina in 1995, then transitioned to the Global Strategic Business Unit in 2001 after Nestlé’s acquisition of Purina.

Sivewright was appointed to lead Nestlé Purina PetCare’s Latin America business in 2004, where he drove notable growth. In 2011, he was appointed president of Nestlé Purina PetCare North America. Since then, he has overseen significant growth for the company, including numerous new product developments and launches, acquisitions and the embrace of e-commerce.

This news comes at the heels of two recent operational announcements by Purina. The company announced Oct. 1 it will invest $450 million to renovate a former brewery in Eden, N.C. for pet food manufacturing. Additionally, Purina announced Oct. 27 plans to invest $550 million in a brand-new pet food manufacturing plant in Williamsburg Township, Ohio.

Purina was the only one of Nestlé’s business categories to post net sales growth over the first nine months of 2020.

Read more about personnel changes throughout the industry.