UB sets up ‘pwere brand’ team

United Biscuits has created a new “power brand development team” for McVitie’s Group, headed by recently appointed ex-Unilever chief Ed Jackson, to drive international expansion.

Jackson was appointed to the new position of managing director of development operations in July, as revealed exclusively in Marketing Week. (MW July 9). He will head a team of three UB brand directors: Mark Horgan, marketing director (countlines) McVitie’s UK; Jude Bridge, marketing director KP Snacks; and Pascale Muylaert, marketing director for McVitie’s continental Europe.

The power brand team starts work next month. Brand portfolios have yet to be allocated to each director.

Horgan, who worked at Nestlé Rowntree and Mars before joining UB two years ago, says: “We will look at which brands have the potential to become power brands across UB in Western and Eastern Europe and Asia.”

The Penguin brand and the Go Ahead! low-fat range of snacks, biscuits, cakes and pizzas have been earmarked as power brands in the UK.

As part of the restructure, Will Carter – director of snacks at KP – will join the McVitie’s UK board as marketing director. Iain Paton, who has recently returned from the Smith’s Snackfood Company in Australia, will bridge the gap left at KP when he becomes marketing director at KP with a place on the KP Board.

Gill McComas, a marketing director at McVitie’s UK, with responsibility for core brands such as Digestives, and Jaffa Cakes, will take the new role of product development director, reporting to Carter. She will concentrate on three areas: new product development, identifying growth areas for the future; technical npd: and impulse channel development.

McComas, who worked on the development of the Go Ahead! range, which has annual sales of 70m, says: “The three-finger Penguin Pick-Up Pack was the first example of us developing an impulse product. We will look for more opportunities like that.”

This wide-ranging marketing restructure is the next stage of UB group chief executive Eric Nicoli’s masterplan to turn round the company after years of criticism by the City.

Earlier this year, Nicoli ditched UB’s regional structure and divided the company into two divisions: McVitie’s Group, the international biscuit business including McVitie’s UK; and UK Foods, which includes KP Foods, McVitie’s Prepared Foods and Young’s seafood and potato products.

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