Unilever marketers lose practical roles

Unilever is expected to strip profit responsibilities from its most senior marketers, Simon Clift and Anthonie Stal, in a wide-ranging shake-up of the organisation as part of its “simplification” strategy.

The new-look structure, announced last week by incoming chief executive Patrick Cescau, scraps Unilever’s two separate divisions, health and personal care (HPC) and food. These divisions were responsible for developing brands globally, selling them into the trade and managing the profits. They worked on a local level with regional business group presidents. Those business groups are being axed and some of the presidents will leave the company.

In the new structure, branding will be split from implementation. Unilever’s slimmed-down executive team will have three regional presidents – for Europe, the Americas and Asia and Africa – with sole responsibility for profits, sales and relationships with retailers.

The executive team will have two brand heads. Ralph Kugler has been promoted to president of home and personal care, while Vindi Banga is president of food. They will only handle branding and advertising and will not be involved with implementing the strategies they create.

It is unclear how the new structure will operate below board level, though up to 14 senior executives are expected to lose their jobs.

But an insider says that Clift, previously marketing president for HPC and the man behind Lynx and Dove, is expected to report to Kugler. Stal, who replaced Anthony Simons as marketing president for food last August, will be the most senior marketer for food and will report to Banga.

In their previous roles, both Clift and Stal worked alongside senior vice-presidents for finance in their divisions. Now, they will concentrate solely on developing ad campaigns and brand strategy.

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