Lavazza Does the Tarantella
"Lavazza has announced a major reshuffle of its global leadership team as it seeks to 'foster a more dynamic and effective' corporate structure. The Italian coffee roaster has relocated some of its most senior executives to new regions while adding additional responsibilities to other job roles." (Allegra Strategies)
Does this dance suggest that the current strategy has not been working or are they simply trying to move aces into their places? It is a large upheaval of upper management when you consider that stability is often the goal for a company of this size.
"Pietro Mazzà has moved from General Manager UK and Regional Director UK and Nordics to Regional Director France & Benelux, responsible for the French, Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourgian markets. Massimo Pepe, previously General Manager for Eastern Europe & Export Markets, has been appointed Regional Director UK & Nordics. Additionally, Simone Chimini, Lavazza Australia Managing Director since July 2021, has been appointed APAC Regional Director.
Former Business Unit Director for Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, Leo Italiano, has been appointed Director of Lavazza’s International Markets Business Units, representing markets where the group operates solely through distributors. All regional directors will report to Group Chief Commercial Officer Mauro Mantovani. Lavazza’s operations in the Swiss market now lie under the responsibilities of Susanne Wege, who has become Regional Director DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) & Poland. Wege previously held the roles of General Manager Germany & Austria and Regional Director Poland. The Turin-based coffee roaster previously grouped Italy and Switzerland under the same leadership team. However, its home market is now tied with Spain and Portugal led by new regional Director Italy & Iberia, Igor Nuzzi who was previously Regional Director Italy & Switzerland. "(Allegra Strategies)
In 2020 Lavazza announced Davide Riboni as the President of Lavazza Americas. Since that time, Lavazza also began receding its relationships with long-time distributors in the US in a move to control its sales channels directly. The discontinuation of these distribution relationships rubbed many the wrong way and has hurt their food service business.
Later, in May of 2021, the Italian coffee Goliath announced its plans to build out an entire roasting operation as an extension of its offices in West Chester, Pennsylvania. (Drinks Network Insights) This is a significant investment in the North American market and a symbolic hurdle overcome, as most Italian coffee brands would never allow Italian coffee to be produced on foreign soil. They have positioned the move as part of its sustainability efforts as it will eventually reduce the amount of exports it will have to ship. The facility is up and running and ready for growth.
"Hossam Ashraf has been named Lavazza North America President, having held the role of Americas President since March 2023" (Allegra Strategies). Ashraf joins the Lavazza Americas team after Riboni's short time in the position.
Lavazza's strategy in the US has historically been misguided and flawed. The first misstep came when they signed on to build cafes in highway rest stops. This devalued the brand from the beginning, and they have been viewed as a mass-market commodity roaster in the US ever since. They have tried to recover their image through advertising, redesigning their packaging, etc. Now that Lavazza is positioned to serve US consumers directly from production to delivery, it will be interesting to see where Mr Ashraf plans to steer the US branch.
Written by Jake Leonti, F+B Therapy
Mr. Leonti has worked in coffee for over twenty years with disciplines at every link of the value chain from barista to roasting, green grading and importing. Jake is the current Editor-in-Chief of Coffee Talk Magazine, columnist at Santé Magazine, member of the Roasters Guild and host of the Food and Beverage Therapy podcast