AMC Theatres has named Ellen Copaken to the newly created role of vice president, growth strategy, effective February 18. Copaken’s hire comes as the exhibitor eyes an expansion into the retail popcorn industry.
In the role, Copaken will lead AMC’s execution of growth strategies related to the sale of popcorn outside of the exhibitor’s theaters while assisting with other initiatives to “broaden and transform” the company. She’ll report to AMC Theatres Chief Strategy Officer Mark Pearson.
Copaken joins AMC Theatres from the global innovation consulting firm Sterling Rice Group, where she served as a partner. During her tenure, she led client relationships and growth strategy engagements in foodservice, retail, consumer package goods and hospitality industries. Before that, she worked in leadership roles at Frito-Lay, PepsiCo and Hostess Brands in general management, innovation and brand management. Over the course of her career, she has launched dozens of new food and beverage products in grocery, retail and restaurant/foodservice.
In November, AMC announced it would begin selling its AMC Theatres Perfectly Popcorn through four new platforms in 2022. Later this year, the company will begin selling its popcorn and various other movie theater treats at select mall retail locations across the U.S. It also plans to make its Perfectly Popcorn available through food delivery-to-home services and via takeout/pickup. The exhibitor is additionally exploring opportunities to offer Perfectly Popcorn in prepackaged and microwaveable varieties in grocery stores, convenience stores and other food service venues across the country.
“I have been vocal about our intention to innovate, grow and transform AMC’s business, with our planned venture into the multi-billion dollar popcorn industry being a significant example of our doing so,” said AMC Theatres chairman and CEO Adam Aron in statement. “I am therefore quite pleased to welcome Ellen Copaken as Vice President of Growth Strategy for AMC, who is an extremely important hire for us. She has a superb track record in brand management and innovation at Frito-Lay, PepsiCo and Hostess Brands. Her executive ability combined with her significant grocery experience will be a vital asset to AMC as we explore and deliver on current and future opportunities, starting with our new popcorn initiative.”