FA appoints United Biscuits’ Martin Glenn as new chief executive

The Football Association (FA) has appointed UB CEO and former marketer Martin Glenn as chief executive officer of the sport’s governing body.

Glenn will step down from his post at United Biscuits in early April and will lead The FA “through a significant period of change” according to chairman Greg Dyke when he begins his role as CEO on 18 May.

Dyke has set out strategic priorities for the next five years which include growing The FA’s grassroots business, investing into facilities and coaching and working towards elite international success.

Prior to joining United Biscuits in April 2013, Glenn held roles at Birds Eye, PepsiCo, Walkers Snack Foods and Mars.

Glenn, a football fan and former Leicester City FC non-executive director, gained attention as president of the Walkers brand when he introduced England’s second greatest goal scorer of all time Gary Lineker as the face of Walkers in 2002, enlisting him to play a role in its marketing campaigns.

He is currently president of The Marketing Society.

Of his appointment, the 54-year-old said: “This has been a difficult decision, as I have had a hugely enjoyable – if challenging time – at UB. I am very sad to be leaving the business, but the opportunity with the FA is just too good to pass up, as I am sure many people understand.

“I have coached football at grassroots level, have sat on the Board of a Premier League football club and have spent my time on the terraces at Molineux where I have a season ticket. I hope this informs my work at The FA as we look to inspire everyone to be involved in what is the nation’s most watched and played team sport.”

Glenn will be replaced by Jeff van der Eems, who is currently CEO of United Biscuits’ international business, on 3 April.

Last year, United Biscuits was gobbled up by Turkish food manufacturer Yildiz Holding, and underwent an overhaul in its brand strategy which saw it group its sweet and savoury biscuits under the umbrella McVitie’s and Jacob’s brands respectively.

Van der Eems was appointed as CEO of the international business in April 2013, previously holding roles as chief operating officer and chief financial officer, the role he held when he joined the company in 2005. Beforehand, he worked at PepsiCo for 14 years in roles including director of M&A, chief financial officer of its Eastern Europe Middle East Africa business and then of UK & Ireland.

Since joining UB, he has seen the international business more than quadruple its size, leading it into India in 2010 and executing acquisitions of biscuit companies in Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

Van der Eems said: “I am thrilled to be taking over as CEO of UB from Martin. The business is in a strong position to continue to grow both at home and abroad, especially with the support now provided by Yıldız Holding…We will continue to build on UB’s strong foundations and spearhead the business for long-term sustainable growth.”

Meanwhile, Glenn will stay on UB’s Board of Directors as an advisor.


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