Diana Marszalek 06 Dec 2018 // 8:36PM GMT
LONDON — Unilever CMO Keith Weed will be retiring in April after 35 years with one of the world’s biggest PR spenders.
Weed, who took on Unilever’s top marketing job in 2010, announced his plans in a series of Twitter posts on Thursday. His announcement comes roughly a week after CEO Paul Polman announced that he will be retiring at the end of this year.
“I've had the pleasure of working with super people in Unilever & beyond. It's with a happy and heavy heart that I've decided to retire from Unilever in April It's been over a year in planning with exciting challenges 2 follow,” he added.
“As CMCO I've led Marketing, Sustainability & Communications; all the levers to create a new business model with purposeful brands & sustainability @ the core. This has been +ve for Unilever with sales & profit growing y-on-y but more importantly +ve for people, society & planet,” he wrote.
Naming a successor will be up to new CEO Alan Jope, who will assume his new role early next year, according to Reuters.
Weed, who has been among Holmes Report’s Influence 100, was the first person to unify marketing, communications and sustainability leadership at the FMCG giant. He is also the first Unilever CMO to sit on the company’s executive committee, and has been a forceful proponent of the need for brands to embrace sustainability and social purpose, which made him one of Polman’s key lieutenants.
Weed’s responsibilities were aligned to support Unilever’s vision to grow the business while reducing its environmental footprint and increasing positive social impact. He led the creation of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan and pioneered new ways of integrating sustainability into the business.
In addition, Weed led a step change in marketing at Unilever, most notably with significant advances in digital marketing and technologies, and championed the development of brands with purpose through Unilever’s Brands for Life strategy.
Weed’s communications responsibilities mean he oversees one of the world’s biggest PR budgets. Before taking on the CMO position, Weed was EVP for global home care & hygiene at Unilever, and has worked for Unilever in the UK, France and the US, along with a variety of global and regional management and marketing roles.