Philip Marineau: Taking The Levi's Challenge

Philip Marineau is trading Pepsi Blue for the Levi 501 Blues. On Sept. 7, Pepsi announced that Marineau, 52, head of its Pepsi-Cola North America unit, was leaving to be CEO of beleaguered jeans maker Levi Strauss.

The departure is a blow to the perennial No.2 cola. Marineau says he left because he wanted to run his own show--something that was unlikely to happen anytime soon at PepsiCo under CEO Roger Enrico, 54. On Marineau's watch, Pepsi halted the market share advance of archrival Coca-Cola, partly through broadening the target market for Pepsi--now in blue cans--beyond its Gen X audience to a wider public. "Coke's no longer winning," says Marineau.

Levi's, on the other hand, needs to rebuild its following among teens and young adults. Marineau admits he has a lot to learn about the apparel business, but he intends to get up to speed by talking to retailers. Marineau is known for his stress on nuts-and-bolts marketing techniques. At Levi's, which saw sales skid 13% last year to $6 billion, all that marketing prowess is sorely needed.

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