Ex-Coke marketer Cathryn Sleight resurfaces at Unilever

Cathryn Sleight, the former Coca-Cola GB marketing director, has joined Unilever as the global vice president of marketing for Knorr.


Sleight left her role at Coke after four years in the job, following a review of 150 marketing jobs in 38 countries.

Her move to Unilever comes as the FMCG giant confirms it is expanding its marketing team by creating global roles to boost the return from its marketing investment.

She joins Helena Ganczakowski, current global VP of heart health, who will take on the agency relations role.

Jorgen Bartsch, currently the Singapore-based director of marketing operations will take on the marketing services role, and former VP of European marketing Paula Quazi will take on the futures communications role.

At Coca-Cola, Sleight oversaw 21 brands, including Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Oasis. She had been marketing director since July 2005, having previously held the same post at global spirits and wine company Allied Domecq from 2001 to 2004. She is also a former director of brand marketing at Britvic Soft Drinks.

Unilever’s global vice president for brand development Matt Hill was recently appointed as chief marketing officer for Heinz UK & Ireland and Matt Burgess, managing director of Incs at Unilever is to leave his role to head up the company’s UK skin care division.

The changes have been brought by Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed who took on the CMO role in March following the departure of Simon Clift.

Since April, Coca-Cola has been undergoing a major restructure as part of a pan-European consultation which has seen the company consolidate its ten existing European business units into four – Iberia, Germany, North West Europe & Nordics (NWEN) and Central & Southern Europe. The UK now sits under the NWEN banner.

In all, 12 people had left the company as of 1 October 2010. The company says it expects some more departures over the next few months.

The shake up saw Sanjay Guha, Coca-Cola GB president, named as marketing and Olympics director for NWEN with Nick Robinson becoming My Coke (Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero) director.

Philippa Classey assumes the role of Glaceau business manager, and Michel Gotlib was appointed as integrated marketing communications director. Zoe Howorth, marketing director for Schweppes and Flavours has been promoted to the new role of GB market activation director.

Guha, Classey and Robinson will be based in the UK, while Gotlib will be based in France. A local GB operational team will adapt and activate NWEN marketing plans for GB consumers.

This story first appeared on Pitch, Centaur’s subscription-based online interactive marketplace for agencies and clients to share news, opinion and debate.

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