Unilever has raided one of its roster agencies to fill the post of
worldwide media head. It has hired a director of the Network Europe,
Alan Rutherford, to take over the role when the incumbent, Neil Welling,
retires this summer.
Rutherford is set to move into his new position on 1 June, taking over
responsibility for Unilever’s pounds 2 billion global media spend
Unilever is the world’s third-largest advertiser after General Motors
and Procter & Gamble.
Rutherford’s Unilever brief includes co-ordinating worldwide media
strategy for the fmcg giant, overseeing its roster of media agencies
around the world and marshalling global media budgets.
Traditionally, Unilever’s policy has been to look for internal
candidates for such a key post before approaching outside executives.
However, Unilever is understood to have felt that a media practitioner
was more relevant to this particular role within the company. Welling,
whose official title was media member of the marketing project group, is
a former ITV salesman who joined Unilever from Grampian Television in
1990. Rutherford’s title has not yet been decided.
Rutherford is a former head of television buying at Ogilvy & Mather, and
joint media director with Mandy Pooler, now head of O&M’s new joint
venture media operation, MindShare.
In 1993, Pooler took over as sole media director and Rutherford was
moved into the Network Europe, taking charge of the IBM and Sony
In recent years, Rutherford has worked on the Network Europe’s Sony
Playstation and Kodak accounts, with responsibility for helping to
develop new markets.
Rutherford’s experience in major European media markets, including the
UK, is understood to have attracted his new employer, although he has no
direct experience of emerging markets where Unilever’s competition
against P&G is still in its infancy.
Rutherford was unavailable for comment on his new post as Campaign went
to press, and Unilever refused to confirm that an appointment had been
At the same time, P&G has appointed its own worldwide media director to
replace Darryl Simm, who moved to Omnicom as president of worldwide
media last month.
P&G has promoted Richard Wilson, currently vice-president of advertising
for P&G in Latin America, to vice-president of media for P&G Worldwide.