GSK consolidates Lucozade and Ribena into one business ahead of sale

GSK has consolidated its Lucozade and Ribena brands into one business as part of a wider restructure of its consumer healthcare division as it looks to ensure a “smooth and swift transition” for its drinks brands’ planned sale

Lucozade Sport Gareth Bale
The latest Lucozade Sport ad campaign, created by Grey London.

The company has created a new management team for the Lucozade and Ribena business, led by Peter Harding, who has held the role of GSK general manager for consumer healthcare in Great Britain and Ireland for the past three years.

Joining Harding will be a new UK and Ireland marketing director, Carol Smith, who joined GSK in 2012 to lead the Great Britian and Ireland commercial marketing function. Prior to joining GSK, Smith held a variety of brand management, sales and category management positions at Kimberly-Clark.

The team will also consist of GSK’s current international marketing director Jon Roberts, sales director Gareth Smyth and Ireland country manager Rory Brennan.

It is hoped the creation of a ready-made Lucozade and Ribena-focused management team will increase the attractiveness of the business to potential buyers.

Last month it was reported AG Barr was tabling a £1bn bid for the brands, following the collapse of its merger talks with Britvic

Britvic itself is reported to be another potential buyer, as is Vimto owner Nichols, Nestle and a number of private equity firms.

Harding says: “My goal is to continue to drive success on Lucozade and Ribena by executing our highly competitive plans for 2013. Our advertising and promotional spend behind these brands will continue as will our investment in new product development.”

Meanwhile, a new management team has also been formed for the remainder of the businesses that make up GSK’s consumer healthcare division – which includes brands such as Sensodyne, Aquafresh, Panadol, NiQuitin and Beechams.

GSK Consumer Healthcare will be led by Carlton Lawson, who will head both the Great Britain and Ireland business operations. He joined GSK from Johnson & Johnson, as vice president and global business lead for the company’s oral health category.

Rachel Deans, most recently global marketing director for GSK oral healthcare brand Aquafresh, will become GSK Consumer Healthcare marketing director. The senior management team will be completed by vice president of sales Jon Workman and Ireland commercial director Dave Barrett.

Lawson says: “We have a number of exciting new products either hitting shelves now or in the next few months. Niquitin Strips, Sensodyne Complete, Aquafresh High Definition, and a new range of MaxiNutrition products will attract new shoppers unlocking incremental sales for retailers and adding value to the category by offering consumers something that is new and unique.”

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