Unilever promotes Pot Noodle chief to top job

Unilever Bestfoods has promoted its top marketer on savoury and dressings, Chris Springford, to managing director of Unilever Bestfoods Australasia. Springford was responsible for commissioning the controversial “slag of all snacks” Pot Noodle ad campaign during his time at Knorr. His replacement has yet to be appointed.

Springford, who is business group director for savoury and dressings, has not been given a precise start date and will remain in his role for the next few months. The region, which includes Australia and New Zealand, is one of four regional clusters that make up Unilever Bestfoods Asia. It is headed by Unilever Bestfoods Asia president Louis Willem Gunning.

Springford worked for Van den Bergh Foods as business group director before the company was restructured to create Unilever Bestfoods in 2000. He took over as head of Knorr Savoury, which also included Pot Noodle, Hellmann’s, Colman’s, Bertolli and Peperami, in 2001.

The division has courted some controversy during Springford’s tenure, including the Pot Noodle ad campaign, which was created by HHCL/Red Cell. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) received 228 complaints about the campaign. It was also censured by the ASA over claims that Knorr Vie soups provide the equivalent of three portions of vegetables a day. The campaign, created by DDB London, was described as misleading.

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