Since Jeff Watters joined Ainsworth Pet Nutrition—then Dad’s Pet Care—in 2009 as Executive Vice President of the company’s commercial side of business, he has worked side by side with the company’s owners to transform the business from a regional, private-label pet food into a national, branded powerhouse focused on super premium pet products. This move has been a win for the company, allowing it to nearly triple its business in eight short years.
As President and CEO, Jeff oversees the company’s fast-growing product portfolio, including its flagship brand, Rachael Ray™ Nutrish®. Under his leadership, the company has executed a remarkable strategic pivot from a regional, value-oriented player to a national, super-premium player. As part of this transformation, the company is now laser focused on changing the way consumers shop for super-premium pet products by making it more convenient and affordable for pet families. In support of this transformation, Jeff launched a galvanizing Vision Statement—“Pet Store Quality. Supermarket Easy.”—to articulate Ainsworth’s differentiated category role and mission for all stakeholders.
Jeff came to Ainsworth from Del Monte, where he served as Senior Vice President of the company’s Pet Products division and Managing Director of Star-Kist Seafood after joining in 2002 as part of a spinoff from Heinz. Prior to his experience with Heinz and Del Monte, Jeff worked in brand management with The Clorox Company and in sales and customer marketing with Kraft Foods Inc.
Jeff earned an MBA from University of Maryland in 1993 and a bachelor’s degree in Government from Hamilton College, where he played varsity soccer and baseball.
He resides in Sewickley, Penn., with his wife, Suzanne and their three children: Emily (18), John (15) and Betsy (13). Jeff is also a proud parent of an eight -year-old English Bulldog, named Bulldozer, and a Bichon-Shih Tzu mix, named Small Bean, the only family members who are truly impressed with his position with an industry-leading pet food company.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Jeff serves on the Quaker Valley School Board and enjoys travel and sports in his free time.