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.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here