The Network chief lands 2bn Unilever media role

Unilever has appointed Alan Rutherford, client service and operations director at the Network Europe, to its top worldwide media post, overseeing the consumer giant’s 2bn media budget.

At the same time, arch-rival Procter & Gamble has appointed its vice-president for Latin America Richard Wilson as vice-president of media. Wilson replaces Daryl Simm, who was poached by the Omnicom Group to become president and chief operating officer for worldwide media (MW February 12).

Rutherford joins Unilever’s marketing projects group, which manages global marketing across the company’s different categories. He is effectively global media chief and will oversee Unilever’s global media agencies, MindShare, Universal McCann and Initiative media. He takes up the post on June 1.

His appointment has surprised some observers, as Unilever usually recruits from its own ranks for such high-profile roles. Rutherford replaces Neil Welling, who retires this summer.

Unilever allows each country in which it operates to spend up to 20 per cent of its ad budget with agencies chosen locally, although the other 80 per cent goes to global agencies.

Rutherford leaves The Network on the eve of its integration into J Walter Thompson’s media outfit.

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