The chief executive of the Unilever Ventures investment fund, David Ball, has left the company. The division was set up this year to nurture new ideas and start-up brands. Ball has left the packaged goods giant to join marketing consultancy The Webb Partnership as its chief executive.
The fund has recently invested &£100m in three ventures. The bulk of this sum has gone into Langholm Capital Partners, which backs promising European consumer companies.
Before heading the Ventures fund, Ball was chief executive of Unilever’s defunct MyHome division. MyHome was set up in 2000 as a stand-alone venture to provide house-cleaning, washing, ironing and dry-cleaning services as part of a drive to boost sales of Unilever’s household products such as Persil (MW March 16, 2000). It was shut down last year and sold off to cleaning services company Chores.
Ball was also responsible for setting up Persil Service, a partnership with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s to create an in-store “launderette-style” service, where shoppers can have their laundry washed, dry-cleaned and ironed (MW June 6).
Unilever Ventures recently appointed former Van den Bergh Foods UK marketing director John Coombs as managing director.
The Ventures division also includes Fariba, the fast-food wraps counter in which Unilever has a 40 per cent stake, and Rocket, the chilled meal kit outlets wholly owned by the company.