Nestlé is planning to launch its global weight-loss brand, Jenny Craig, in the UK in a head-to-head battle with WeightWatchers.
Jonathan Walsh, Nestlé’s corporate marketing and communications director, has been promoted to the role of country business manager to oversee the launch of the brand.
A Nestlé spokesman says a launch date is yet to be determined, with Walsh currently focused on “putting a team together”.
Nestlé acquired Jenny Craig from a private equity consortium which included ACI Capital and MidOcean Partners, for $600m (£409.8m) in 2006. It formed part of Nestlé’s strategy to grow its nutrition and health business.
Jenny Craig already sells weight-loss plans and ready-made meals in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Queen Latifah, the US singer and actress, is current the celebrity brand ambassador for Jenny Craig.
Last year, US actress Kirstie Alley left the position following intense media scrutiny over her weight gain. She had been the face for the brand since 2005.
Walsh currently sits on the board of Nestlé UK and as marketing and communications director has been responsible for the company’s new growth strategy and its bid to become a health, nutrition and wellness company.
Last year, Nestlé was forced to pull its smoothie brand Boosted Smoothies just four months after launching due to lack of demand from retailers (MW August 27). The Boosted initiative was a joint venture with Australian company Boost Juice Bars.
Walsh is a former marketing director for Nestlé Foodservices, who was responsible for growing key brands out of home, including Nescafé, Gold Blend, Aero Hot Chocolate, Maggi, Kit Kat, Yorkie, Aero and Rowntree.
He joined Nestlé in 2001 as marketing director for children’s drinks and strategic innovation.