Close-Up: Weed puts final piece in Unilever's marketing jigsaw

The hiring of Marc Mathieu completes Keith Weed's marketing overhaul, Jeremy Lee says.

Keith Weed, the chief marketing and communications officer at Unilever, has made the final addition to his senior management team with the hiring of Marc Mathieu as the senior vice-president of marketing.

For agencies, his appointment is significant as the French former senior vice-president of global brand marketing at Coca-Cola will take responsibility for marketing strategy (and, in particular, agency relationships), reporting to Weed, who has wider communications and sustainability responsibilities.

Mathieu's team will consist of Paul Nevett, the vice-president of Unilever brand; Paula Quazi, the vice-president of future communications; Ros Walker, the vice-president of marketing capability and academy; Jorgen Bartsch, the vice-president of marketing services; and Helena Ganczakowski, the vice-president of agency relations.

They have been tasked with delivering a "step-change" in the company's marketing skills and the development of the Unilever brand, which, according to the FMCG giant, will enable it to achieve its ambition of doubling the size of the business while reducing its environmental impact.

Mathieu says that he was attracted to the job because Unilever's "vision of the role of brands and business in helping us all to address the human and environmental challenges facing society is one of the most articulate I have come across".

Given the power of the role, what does the appointment mean for agencies? Campaign asked Weed to explain the hiring.

- So, what will Mathieu's responsibilities be and what does this mean for agencies?

His overall responsibility will be picking up agency relationships. While we're happy where we are at the moment with our current agency relationships and have no plans to change anything immediately, like everyone else we are looking at remuneration.

- How are you planning to change the remuneration model?

We're always looking at new ways of remuneration and Mathieu's role is to look at our relationships and fees. We already have structured six-monthly reviews with our agencies regarding work and our relationship, which he'll now be championing.

- What else will he be doing?

He has six different responsi- bilities. As well as agency relationships and fees, he will oversee marketing services that look after global ad production; future communications - what's going to happen in the area of communications in the future; marketing communications and academy, which looks at getting the balance between effectiveness and creativity right; the return on marketing investment; and the Unilever brand.

- Will you be doing any marketing or advertising specifically around the Unilever brand?

Well, we've been doing several pilots around the world. We've started to do some digital work on the consumer brand and, in the UK, the corporate brand already appears on products and in ads. But in a joined-up world, consumers can easily find out about the brand, so it's an area we will be looking at.

- Why did you hire Mathieu and will there be any other changes to your marketing department?

He's the last piece in the jigsaw. I wanted to get a blend in the team of internal promotions and external hires. Mathieu has been at Danone and Coca-Cola and he's very well-equipped. From our perspective, he's a top-notch senior marketer.


Marc Mathieu, 51, started his career at Danone Group in 1983. In 1992, he was appointed the director of marketing and new projects in the East Asia corporate development team and, from the beginning of 1995, he was the project director.

Later that year, he was appointed the managing director of Premier Waters, a UK subsidiary that markets Evian and Volvic mineral waters. Mathieu joined Coca-Cola in 1996 initially in the Philippines before moving, as a general manager, to South-East Asia, where he gained emerging market experience in the region.

He moved up to division president for France and Benelux in 2000 and was appointed the senior vice-president of global brand marketing in 2003. In addition to the "Coke side of life" campaign, he launched Coke Zero in 50 markets.

Mathieu left Coca-Cola in 2008, having set up its sustainability platform "Live Positively" to launch the Atlanta-based strategic branding consultancy Bedo, which focuses on sustainability issues.

At Bedo, he created The Hoop, a micro-lending venture for Fairtrade producers and brands.