New Blue Apron CFO is PepsiCo Veteran

Blue Apron is hoping its new CFO, a consumer packaged foods veteran, can help "drive strong and sustainable growth."
New Blue Apron CFO is PepsiCo Veteran

The founders of Blue Apron might scoff at the notion that their company is in the packaged foods business, but the meal kit provider reached into that very arena to select its new finance chief.

On Thursday, the company named 29-year PepsiCo veteran Tim Bensley the CFO of Blue Apron Holdings. The West Point graduate has vast experience managing supply chain operations, which he did at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division.

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He was also PepsiCo’s senior vice president of global transformation. In that role, he lead a revamp of the beverage and snacks maker’s global operating models and core business processes. During his PepsiCo tenure Bensley also held the CFO post at PepsiCo Americas Foods and Pepsi-Cola North America.

Bensley left PepsiCo in 2015 to become CFO of Acosta, a private-equity backed company that sells multi-channel marketing services to food and consumer packaged goods companies.

Blue Apron CEO Brad Dickerson, the company’s former CFO, said Benlsey has a track record of “delivering against a growth agenda with a positive impact on business results. … He will play an instrumental role in helping us achieve our strategic goals as we continue on the path of taking transformative actions to drive strong and sustainable growth.”

Blue Apron mealboxIn joining Blue Apron, Bensley steps into an organization whose share price has nose-dived since it went public a year ago. Since then, it has laid off 6% of its workforce, run into operational problems, and reported lackluster growth.

For the first quarter, Blue Apron’s revenue per customer rose to $250, from $236 a year ago. But the company also saw a 24% year-over-year decrease in the number of customers buying its meal kits. (On a quarterly basis, the number of customers rose 5%.)

Dickerson blamed slowing customer acquisition on a scaling-back of marketing spend. But the company still allocated $39.3 million, or 20% of its revenue, to marketing in the first quarter.

Blue Apron’s revenue dropped to $197 million in the quarter from $245 million the year prior. It also reported a net loss of $31.7 million, or 17 cents per share.

At quarter’s end, Blue Apron  had $206 million in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet and $195  million of long-term debt.

Dickerson says the company hopes to break even by 2019, and that it has ironed out the operational issues that arose last year at a new, highly automated warehouse in Linden, N.J.

The company also recently announced a partnership with Costco to move its meal kit boxes into retail stores. But it faces stiff competition from the likes of Amazon, Weight Watchers, and market leader HelloFresh, which is posting impressive growth numbers.

On Tuesday morning, Blue Apron shares were up 6.4%, to $2.79. The company went public at $11 per share.