New Zealand'sFonterra Co-operative Group said it hiredGiovanna "Gigi" Vitaas president of Fonterra North America. Vita previously was senior vice president, marketing and sales strategy at PepsiAmericas.

Fronterra supplies milk powders, cream products, cheese and cheese ingredients, milk and whey proteins to processors of cheese, cultured products, paediatric and functional nutrition, organics as well as operators in the foodservice channel. Vita will be based at Fonterra's corporate headquarters in Rosemont, Ill., outside Chicago. Officials said she will be responsible for operations in the USA, Canada, Caribbean and Central America.

"Gigi has demonstrated a strong foundation in respect to sales processes, customer and channel alignment, and leadership," said Andrei Mikhalevsky, managing director Fonterra Global Ingredients. "She brings a track record of business profitability, building organizational strength, and delivering a strong customer focus. We are confident that she will effectively be able to implement this knowledge into her new position and positively support Fonterra's North American operations."

Prior to her role at PepsiAmericas, Vita was vice president of sales at Nabisco International, where officials said she directed global and regional sales training initiatives on strategic selling and customer trade spending. She was also responsible for integrating the United Biscuits Company in Asia into Nabisco International.