Unilever has named former Coca-Cola Co. marketer Marc Mathieu as its No. 2 global marketing executive, reporting to Global Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed, rounding out a redesign of the global marketing team for the world’s second-biggest advertising spender.
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Mr. Mathieu, 51, whom Mr. Weed credits with helping turn around Coca-Cola by developing the “Coke Side of Life” branding platform and launching Coke Zero last decade as VP-global branding, will join Unilever April 1. He will oversee Unilever’s global corporate branding effort; marketing training, including the Unilever Marketing Academy; marketing services; agency relations; and return on marketing investment. VPs over those areas will report to him.
For the past three years has led Atlanta-based BeDo, a strategic marketing consultancy. BeDo focuses on sustainability issues and has had Johnson & Johnson, Danone, Coca-Cola, Levis and Club Med as clients. Among projects the firm has launched has been The Hoop, a micro-lending venture for fair-trade producers and brands.
That dovetails with Unilever’s own sustainability efforts and with Mr. Mathieu’s new charge in helping Unilever double sales while reducing overall environmental impact by 2020, said Mr. Weed, who also oversees the company’s sustainability efforts.
“I wanted to get some heavyweight marketers in my top team,” Mr. Weed said in an interview. “And the fact that we were able to get someone like him says a lot about the progress we’ve made and the momentum we’ve got and the progress we’re making in innovation in the marketing area.”
Mr. Mathieu is the last of five senior VPs Mr. Weed has appointed since taking his post last year. He joins Gavin Neath (sustainability), Sue Garrard (communications), Richard Davies (consumer and market insight) and Luis Di Como (global media), the latter having recently been named to succeed Laura Klauberg in that post. Three of the five came from within Unilever, but Ms. Garrard, previously with the U.K.’s Department for Work and Pensions, like Mr. Mathieu came from outside.
“I’ve got a balance between internal hires and external hires to bring diversity of thought,” Mr. Weed said, adding that he considered internal and external candidates for each of the posts.
Mr. Mathieu’s experience in branding and sustainability along with Unilever putting sustainability under the marketing organization is something Mr. Weed sees as part of a trend.
“Having sustainability led by an environmentalist in a small department by itself was never going to get the sort of traction we need in this world to get true innovation in the area,” he said.
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