As enterprises seek to address ever-growing complexities in the marketplace — whether that be due to seismic shifts in technology or business landscapes that can pivot overnight — the role of chief operating officer has become increasingly important. This explains The J.M. Smucker Company’s decision to snag John Brase as its COO in 2020. Brase brings nearly three decades of experience in the consumer goods industry to the role, including significant work across brand management, business operations, manufacturing, marketing, and sales.
Since taking the COO position, Brase has had plenty to manage. A Fortune 500 company, J.M. Smucker has more than 7,000 employees working to bring in nearly $8 billion in sales each year. As COO, Brase has strategic oversight of the company’s three U.S. business segments: Pet Food & Pet Snacks, Coffee, and Consumer Foods. A part of the company’s executive leadership team, Brase is also responsible for its Away From Home, Operations, and Supply Chain functions.
Brase reports directly to Chair of the Board, President, and CEO Mark Smucker, who had this to say after announcing Brase as COO: "John is an extremely talented and accomplished leader who brings a proven track record of delivering growth to the businesses he has overseen. Importantly, John has already displayed an understanding of our unique culture and a desire to enhance the positive impact we have on all our constituents."
Before Smucker, Brase spent nearly 30 years at Procter & Gamble, starting in sales management and steadily working his way up to the executive level. Most recently, he served as Vice President and General Manager of the company’s $6 billion North American Family Care unit. Before that, he managed P&G’s North American Baby Care business, which boasted sales of over $2.3 billion. Furthermore, during his tenure, he oversaw the successful expansion of the Swaddlers line extension and the launch of new advertising campaigns for both Pampers and Luvs.
Brase has also been active in the community and with industry organizations. This includes serving on the University of Missouri Marketing Advisory Board; establishing and leading a “Success to Significance” Leader’s Group, which supports business leaders’ efforts to maximize their impact in the community; and acting as board president for One City for Recovery, an organization assisting the fight against opiate addiction. In 1990, Brase graduated from the University of Missouri–Columbia magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in business administration in marketing & logistics. He also holds an MBA from St. Louis University.