Unilever CMO John Broome departs after restructure

One of Australia’s most high profile marketers, John Broome, marketing boss of Unilever ANZ, has departed the company after just 13 months, Mumbrella can reveal.

Broome: Disappearance of CMO role is FMCG trend

Broome joined Unilever as VP of marketing in February 2016, taking over from Andrea Martens (VP of marketing for home and personal care) and Hugo Verkuil (VP of foods and refreshments) who had occupied the role in a dual capacity from February 2013 – making him responsible for one of the largest marketing spends in Australia. 

When Broome’s appointment to the consolidated role was announced in December 2015. At the time, Clive Stiff, CEO of Unilever Australia and New Zealand, said it was an important step in the company’s drive for growth in the region.

“John’s extensive local and global experience in FMCG marketing and his passion for building brands with purpose will be instrumental as we continue to drive sustainable growth in Australia and New Zealand.”

Broome told Mumbrella that while the news of the redundancy was unexpected, it was part of a “pretty consistent” trend in the industry at the moment.

He said he would take some time before deciding on his next role – with the big question he needed to answer being whether he would stay within the FMCG sector.

“FMCG CMO roles in Australia are getting fewer and fewer,” he said. “This news is a great example of that.”

The CMO role will now no longer exist for the ANZ arm of Unilever’s operations, Mumbrella understands.

Prior to joining Unilever, Broome was the head of marketing in Australia and New Zealand for Kellogg’s, which he joined in 2012.

During his tenure with the FMCG company, Broome noted the sector had become too conservative and said there needed to be a change in marketing approaches.

“FMCG brands have got too conservative over the years. They’ve cut their way to growth and there’s been a fear of private labels and the retail squeeze. The sectors need to play to its strengths – its brands,” he said at the time.

He also said on a risk-taking scale of one to 10, he’d place himself around seven – somewhat unusual for marketers in the FMCG space.

“The FMCG category is not renowned for taking risks – there’s a heck of a lot at stake. But doing the same old thing is not going to transform the business. I’ve been encouraging my teams to flex their creative muscles more.”

He departed the Kellogg’s role as part of a larger Kellogg’s restructure in October 2015.

Broome has also spent time working for Nestle, Reckitt Benckiser and Goodman Fielder.

A Unilever spokesperson said: “We would like to thank John for his contribution to Unilever in Australia and New Zealand and we wish him all the very best.”

Unilever brands include Lynx, Dove, Omo and Continental.



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