Nestlé picks Frenchman as head of UK ice cream

Nestlé has appointed a new general manager to head its UK ice cream business. He comes from Nestlé’s Swiss headquarters in Vevey, and is part of what is widely seen as a “Europeanisation” of the UK market.

Nestlé has appointed a new general manager to head its UK ice cream business. He comes from Nestlé’s Swiss headquarters in Vevey, and is part of what is widely seen as a “Europeanisation” of the UK market.

Jean-Marie Gurné, a Frenchman, joins from the strategic business unit for ice cream at head office, where he has worked since 1994. He joined Nestlé in 1979 and has specialised in ice cream for most of his career.

Gurné replaces Gordon Priestley at Nestlé Lyons Maid. Priestley is understood to be staying within the company.

One observer says: “There is a plan to Europeanise Nestlé in the UK and make it less inward looking. Like Unilever, it is very much concerned with the global battle and wants to move ideas from the rest of the world into the UK market.”

Dutchman Kees Langerak was brought into confectionery arm, Nestlé Rowntree, as marketing director last November, from Nestlé Chocoladen Gmbh in Germany. Last January, Gerhard Berssenbrgge, a German, was poached from Kraft Jacob Suchard’s German coffee business and appointed managing director of Nestlé Grocery Division, which covers coffee.

Nestlé UK is about to announce this year’s ice cream range. More launches are expected. Its main brands are Mirage, Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles lolly, a cone brand called Extreme, Kit Kat ice cream and Zoom. A company spokesman says its core aims are to concentrate on innovations and build on the strength of its children’s section.

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