Reckitt Benckiser (RB) is moving its long-serving marketing chief Keith Edwards to the role of general manager for Poland.
Edwards is being replaced by Thomas Bittinger, haircare marketing director for rival Procter & Gamble in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Bittinger’s appointment will come as a surprise because it is unusual for P&G to lose one of its top marketers to a rival. He will start at the beginning of September.
Bittinger will assume Edwards’ responsibilities for marketing RB’s core range of household cleaning brands, including Harpic, Mr Sheen, Airwick, Finish and Vanish. He will also help oversee RB’s Powerbrand 2005 strategy in the UK, which aims to generate 50 per cent of the company’s turnover from 15 core brands by 2005.
An RB spokeswoman refused to confirm Bittinger’s appointment as a replacement for Edwards, but said he was joining from a rival company. She says: “He might want a reorganisation of the marketing team but of course we won’t know until he gets here. There are no plans to change things in the meantime.”
Edwards has held the position of UK marketing director since Benckiser merged with Reckitt & Colman in December 1999, having spent about a decade as marketing director for Benckiser prior to the merger.
RB handed its &£300m global ad account to Havas Advertising’s Euro RSCG Worldwide and WPP Group’s J Walter Thompson in April last year (MW April 12, 2002).