One of the areas that the Supply Chain Matters blog has focused on since our inception is bringing visibility to how a background in the many functional areas that make-up supply chain management can lead to other senior business leadership roles.
We have highlighted CEO and other C-Suite appointments involving many corporations such as Apple, BMW, Dow Chemical, General Motors, McCormack Foods, among others.
The key theme often comes down to not only positioning one’s career but also having a deep understanding and appreciation for the linkage of manufacturing and supply chain capability to enabling business transformation needs and outcomes.
In this update, we highlight the announcement of the new Chief Technology Officer at the Hershey Company.
This week, the Hershey Company announced the appointment of Deepak Bhatia as the company’s first Chief Technology Officer and newest member of the candy and snack provider’s Executive Committee.
According to the announcement, Bhatia will lead the company’s global technology strategy, architecting and deploying digital capabilities that are innovative, flexible and prepared to meet the changing needs of Hershey’s consumers, retail partners and employees.
Commenting on this appointment, Michele Buck, The Hershey Company President and Chief Executive Officer indicated:
“We are investing in our people and digital capabilities to strengthen our infrastructure and scale across our growing supply chain and business units. As we continue to double down in this area, Deepak has the expertise needed to successfully lead our technology strategy leveraging end-to-end data, analytics and automation to elevate our employee experience, create commercial value and advance our leading snacking powerhouse vision.”
Bhatia was recruited from his former leadership position as the Vice President of Supply Chain Optimization Technologies at Amazon. He reportedly brings deep expertise in developing cutting-edge automated systems, supply chain planning, optimization and simulation, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.
During his 12-year tenure at Amazon, Bhatia led the development of large-scale automated decision-making systems dealing with some of the most computationally and mathematically challenging problems in large complex supply chains, bringing applied science, software engineering and product management together.
Prior to Amazon, Bhatia’s background included roles at Applied Materials, where, in addition to supply chain optimization, he also built expertise in predictive business analytics to inform product management and innovation strategies.
In April of this year, the company announced a definitive agreement to acquire two manufacturing plants from Weaver Popcorn Manufacturing, a recognized leader in popcorn production and co-packing, and a co-manufacturer of Hershey’s SkinnyPop brand. The deal called for Hershey to acquire Weaver‘s operations in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Whitestown, Indiana. Commenting on the acquisition, Hershey’s Chief Supply Chain Officer Jason Reiman indicated: “In response to consumer snacking trends, we continue to evolve our supply chain, making significant investments in the size, scale and capabilities of our network, improving resiliency while we continue to strengthen existing supplier relationships.”
We have highlighted this appointment for two reasons.
First, is the history of Hershey itself in the company’s overall business transformation in products and production capabilities. During the heights of the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for snacking or indulgence products elevated, being a comfort food for consumers. But some manufacturers, including Hershey, were hampered in their abilities to deal with the constraints of restricted labor, raw materials, and transportation. That has led to a learning for future direction.
Second, there are the notions of a highly experienced professional in applied areas of end-to-end supply chain optimization as well as predictive and prescriptive analytics being recruited to be the company’s first CTO to lead technologically driven transformation. As noted in the Hershey CEO comments, this is about leveraging a strategy of end-to-end data, analytics and automation to enhance commercial value. Leadership coupled with deep technology experience across supply chain business and product management business processes can be transferable to leading overall technology enabled business transformation.
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