Unilever promotes internally to appoint new top marketer

Esi Eggleston Bracey, who headed up Unilever’s USA business, will take on the new role of chief growth and marketing officer – a departure from predecessor Conny Braams’ chief digital and commercial officer title. 

UnileverUnilever has appointed its new top marketer, recruiting internally to promote its head of the USA business to the role.

Esi Eggleston Bracey has been at Unilever for more than five years. She currently holds the role of both president of the USA business and CEO of the company’s personal care business in North America.

As Unilever’s top marketer, Bracey’s title will be chief growth and marketing officer – a departure from her predecessor Conny Braams’ title of chief digital and commercial officer. Braam’s position was chief digital and marketing officer until April 2022, when marketing was replaced by commercial.

At the time, Braams told Marketing Week that the change to her title reflected the ambition to remove the “silos” between marketing and sales. Braams’ predecessor Keith Weed had been chief marketing and communications officer during his time leading marketing at the organisation.

Bracey’s appointment comes as new Unilever CEO Hein Schumacher outlined the changes he wants to make at the consumer goods giant. In the announcement released to investors today (26 October) he said he intends to create a “performance culture” at the business, with “a renewed team leading the change”.

Under predecessor Alan Jope’s tenure as CEO, there had been some criticism from investors that Unilever’s marketing was too focused on purpose rather than growth. The addition of “growth” to Bracey’s title ahead of marketing appears to clearly signal the new leadership’s intentions.

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Like her predecessor Braams, Bracey is an internal promotion at Unilever. However, unlike Braams who had spent over 33 years at the company, Bracey has not spent the majority of her career at the business.

Prior to joining Unilever, she was president of consumer beauty at cosmetics business Coty, a role which she was in for almost two years. Before that, the majority of her career was spent at Unilever rival P&G.

Bracey spent over 25 years at P&G, latterly as senior vice president and general manager for global cosmetics. As well as cosmetics and personal care, she spent time in P&G’s fabric and home care divisions at the start of her career.

Unilever announced its new top marketer among a raft of new leadership appointments this morning. This includes a new chief financial officer (CFO), Fernando Fernandez, who is currently president of the wellbeing and beauty division at the company. He replaces retiring CFO Graeme Pitkethly.

He will be succeeded in that role by Priya Nair, who is currently chief marketing officer of wellbeing and beauty. Ice cream division president Matt Close is also stepping down to leave the company after more than 30 years at Unilever. Close will be succeeded by Peter ter Kulve, currently president of the home care business.

The role heading up the home care division will be taken on by its current CMO Eduardo Campanella.

Schumacher praises Bracey, Nair and Campanella, describing them as “part of an exceptional generation of Unilever leaders who combine world class marketing skills with frontline experience”.