Unilever shifts European marketing to Rotterdam

Unilever is overhauling its regional marketing operations and creating a “European marketing hub” at its offices in Rotterdam in a bid to create a “more agile, efficient and integrated” brand development business.


More than 300 European marketers will be affected by the shift with half of those affected currently based in the UK will move to Rotterdam. The other half are marketers who will relocate to Unilever’s London offices.

As part of the restructure European brand development directors not based in Rotterdam will move to the Netherlands’ office.

It will also see global brand development directors currently based throughout Europe move to London.

The move will affect the majority of Unilever’s brands, which include Dove, Lynx, Ben & Jerry’s and Persil.

Unilever’s top global marketing bosses including CMO Keith Weed, senior vice president (SVP) of marketing Marc Matthieu and Luis Di Como, SVP of global media, are unaffected and will remain based in the London offices.

Senior UK marketers including Hazel Detsiny VP of marketing for Unilever’s food brands and Iain Potter vice president of marketing for home and personal care, will also remain in the UK.

Brand building teams responsible for executing global brand campaigns on a local level and based in Unilever’s Leatherhead offices are not affected.

The shift follows a broader global organisational restructure in September 2011 which created four categories and eight market clusters in an effort to speed up innovation.

In a statement Unilever said: “Unilever needs a more agile, efficient and integrated brand development business to ensure our continued and consistent success. Our new brand development and innovation hub in Rotterdam will reflect the size and scope of our €13 billion European business and further support our considerable growth ambitions.”

The European marketing brand development hub will begin operating in 2013.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Can't help but think about the fundamental essence of their categories, i.e. functional products stretching slightly into emotional "enjoyment/happiness" and standard media bombardment of consumers. Put simply, you don't really need an array of marketers with a host of VPs cascading down obvious and trivial "brand positionings" like "Cleans better", "Good for you", "Good looks and confidence", etc. Why do marketeers really want to work for companies like UL or P&G?

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  • @Dmitry, perhaps because not everything is a trivial or superficial as you think it is. Simplicity, relevance and clarity in communications are more uncommon than the abstractions made in your assumption.

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  • I thought UL was all about 'agile working'. Do we really need to disrupt these people's lives when most communication is email, IM or phone / Skype / video call ( even between people working in the same office)?

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  • Steve, I completely agree with you. Rumours are that this is mainly a cost cutting operation as half of HR cannot relocate. I am supplier for BDC marketing in Rome and this affects also suppliers that will need to relocate...remote working needs a huge change of mindset.

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