SIMON CLIFT, Unilever's president of marketing, home and personal
care division; and ANTHONY SIMON, chief marketer, Bestfoods division.
Two marketers oversee the giant that is Unilever. Simon Clift is known
as a brave marketer and was responsible for realigning a tranche of UK
accounts into Bartle Bogle Hegarty. He also approved the introduction of
agencies like Mother on to the roster.
One of the driving forces behind getting creativity up the agenda at
Unilever, he is one of the company's more maverick presences with a
famed ability to see the big picture on any brand. Clift, who joined
Unilever straight from Cambridge in 1982, has worked in a number of
roles across Austria, Portugal and Latin America. He lives between
London and Lisbon.
Meanwhile, Anthony Simon, who took up his role on 1 January 2001, was
one of seven senior executives to join Unilever's top team in the wake
of its pounds 13 billion acquisition of Bestfoods in October.
He joined Bestfoods in 1968 and has worked all over Europe, but does not
have quite the same creative credentials as Clift. He was previously the
corporate vice president of Bestfoods' consumer division, where he
oversaw brands such as Marmite, Pot Noodles, Hellmanns, Bovril, Knorr
PROCTER & GAMBLE, global marketing, consumer and market knowledge and
government relations officer. Robert L Wehling's first job was as a
brand assistant at Procter & Gamble in June 1960. Apart from a spell for
three years' military leave, he has stayed with the company ever since,
and in 1999 was rewarded with the above title.
Wehling's goal is to get Procter & Gamble to rely less on television and
more on other marketing strategies. He has developed a fierce loyalty to
P&G after 30 years with the company, but he is also well known for his
ability to apply fresh perspectives to marketing problems and is a
constant force for change within the company.
He was instrumental in scrapping the commission system for the payment
of advertising agencies in September 1999 and replacing it with a reward
package based on sales growth.
Wehling is keen to develop integrated marketing and has experimented
with everything from advertiser supplied programming to online
COCA-COLA, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer. Steve
Jones is the man whose ambition is to persuade the world to drink Coke
His dedication to the brand earned him promotion to his role last year,
aged only 45.
Jones always shows respect for the competition. He is known as an
excellent motivator and communicator, and is described as more of an
"up-front, on the road marketer" than a background strategist. This year
he faces a tough challenge to implement Coke's new localised marketing
strategy around the world, and to make sure the "life tastes good"
campaign connects with the consumer.
The Canadian did stints as a chauffeur and a speechwriter before turning
to marketing. He chose Coca-Cola as the subject of his MBA, and joined
the soft drinks manufacturer in 1988 after five years with
Kimberly-Clark in Canada.
VOLKSWAGEN, head of marketing. Dr Robert Buchelhofer became Volkswagen
Audi Group's marketing supremo in 1995, having worked previously at BMW,
British Leyland and Ford. The 59 year-old Austrian's success in the VW
job means that his name is in the frame for the role of chairman when
the incumbent retires in 2003.
Buchelhofer's attitude to life is encompassed in his belief that "there
is no magic touch, just hard work," and he keeps a tight reign on his
empire. But he is also a great champion of creativity. Volkswagen claims
to have won more advertising gongs than any other brand in the past two
years. Buchelhofer has a fine-tuned, acute sense of what is right and
wrong for the Volkswagen and Audi brands and for each of their
individual models. Advertising agencies appreciate Buchelhofer for his
clarity of vision and for being a man who is always able to communicate
exactly what he wants.
PSA, director of European sales and commercial marketing and general
manager, Spain; and director of marketing. Two mega car brands (Citroen
and Peugeot) mean there are two marketing supremos.
Anyone who claims "a car assembly plant is a magic place" deserves to go
far in the automotive industry. The former, Magda Salarich, attributes
her success to hard work and a relentless focus on financial results. "I
have never been ambitious," she says.
"I think if you are focused on results, the career will follow."
Salarich, 45, is seen as a pragmatic, no-nonsense businesswoman and
believes there is nothing special about her success in a male-dominated
industry. She loves competition and takes pride in keeping up to speed
After gaining an engineering degree in her native Madrid, Salarich
joined Citroen in an internal communications role in 1979. She moved up
through public relations and marketing and was put in charge of
marketing across Europe in 1994. She took on her current role - which
involves four days a week in Paris and one in Madrid - in 1999.
Christian Peugeot has a reputation as a cautious moderniser with a light
touch. He allows all 20 Peugeot regions a degree of autonomy, giving
them the flexibility to run local campaigns while he concentrates on the
KEN ROGERS, Mars Inc's vice-president of marketing. Ken Rogers, the
former Bates Worldwide advertising boss who was poached by Mars to
become its European marketing chief in 1995, was promoted to Mars' top
marketing post in January 2000.
Based at Mars' headquarters in McLean, Virginia, Rogers is in charge of
marketing for all three Mars divisions - snackfoods (confectionery),
petcare, and main meal (food brands such as Uncle Ben's). Rogers, an
American, is charged with maintaining Mars' global focus, although the
secretive and autocratic Mars siblings, John, Forrest Jnr and
Jacqueline, still have a tight grip on the business.
Before moving to the client side, Rogers ran the Mars business at Bates,
where he was vice-chairman of multinational client service. Ironically,
he led an unsuccessful pitch to keep the Mars account after the Mars
brothers fell out with Cordiant following the overthrow of Maurice and
Charles Saatchi from Saatchi & Saatchi (then owned by Cordiant) in
FIAT, executive vice-president for marketing and sales. "Impatient,
determined, optimistic and passionate" are three words constantly used
to describe Juan Jose Diaz Ruiz, who joined Fiat in September 2000.
The Spaniard, who led sales turnarounds at Seat, Audi and Toyota,
declared on arrival at Fiat: "We are proud of Italian design, but we
have to establish universal values not related to nationality." He
insists on a "glocal" approach to advertising and believes that
consumers respond to "imagination and emotion".
Since he arrived at Fiat, Diaz Ruiz has totally re-shaped the company's
sales and marketing organisation and has radically installed several
non-Italians to fill top positions. His attitude is that "the world is
changing fast and consumer expectations are changing just as quickly. We
start from zero every day".
Diaz Ruiz is an art lover who ultimately turned to economics and
marketing at Lancaster University.
PATRICK PELATA, Nissan's executive president for product and corporate
planning. When he joined Nissan in April 1999, Patrick Pelata vowed that
he would lead a revolution in design and engineering at the company.
Never one to court popularity, Pelata declared that Nissan had "no
marketing professionals" and that its product designs were
"unsatisfactory". He also criticised the car manufacturer for being "too
conservative" and "backward looking".
Pelata has since reshuffled senior management and built a global,
transparent decision-making process at Nissan "to ensure that good ideas
will never be lost somewhere within the company".
The 46-year-old Frenchman studied engineering and economics. Expecting
an academic career, he was lured into the automotive world when asked to
fix the robots at Renault's body shops in 1986.