Lever hires first woman as head of marketing

Lever Brothers, the Unilever division that has aggressively marketed detergents and cleaning products to women for over 100 years, has this week announced the appointment of its first female director.

Dr Helena Ganczakowski, 37, takes up the post of marketing director for the Persil and Jif giant, replacing John Trafford, who becomes vice-president of home and personal care for Latin America.

She joins on Friday October 1, and will take her place on Lever Brothers’ board, chaired by James Hill. Her role will be to oversee branding, advertising and “category strategy” for a range of products including Radion, Surf, Comfort and Domestos.

She will work alongside corporate affairs director John Ballington, sales director Graeme Miller and commercial director Steve Carter.

A Cambridge engineering graduate, Ganczakowski is a doctor of engineering. She joined Lever Brothers in 1988 as a graduate trainee and has since worked in various roles across Unilever. Her last job was as senior strategist in Unilever’s corporate strategy group supporting the executive committee. She has also held roles such as senior European brand manager for fabrics, responsible for premium detergents advertising and development.

Lever is increasingly targeting men with its laundry and cleaning products. The company, whose sales have a retail value of &£400m, has used men in ads for Persil Tablets, and in 1997 launched Persil ads featuring a rock group called Black Snake, which used the detergent to stop their black clothes from fading.

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