Sharon MacLeod to head North American personal care at Unilever

The Canadian VP marketing will move to New Jersey in the new year, replaced by incumbent Ricardo Martin, who leads the deodorant category across the continent.
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Sharon MacLeod, Unilever Canada’s VP marketing, is heading south of the border to New Jersey, stepping into the North American personal care VP role in the new year.

She’ll be replaced by incumbent Ricardo Martin, who currently sits as North American deodorant VP in New Jersey.

“I’ve worked on the Canadian business going on 16 years, so I’m very excited for being responsible for the North American region which is a fantastic experience,” she says. She’s also looking forward to working more closely with the personal grooming leadership team and the global marketing group.

MacLeod, who’s sat as VP since 2012 and has worked on brands including Dove and Hellmann’s, says the move is part of structural changes at the global level. This morning at an investor conference, Unilever Global’s CMO Jean-Marc Huet announced the planned cuts of 12% of its workforce, mostly in marketing departments, or roughly 800 marketing jobs. Locally, that’s meant a hiring freeze at the beginning of 2013, and the elimination of only four positions over the past year, MacLeod says. Though there’s expected to be some big reorganization on global teams, the Canadian department was left largely intact, MacLeod’s departure being the biggest change.

The announcement of her move came at the end of last week, leaving her less than a month to wrap things up in Canada.

“It was very difficult – I had to make the phone calls to my colleagues at Ogilvy, Harbinger and Edelman [the CPG's creative and PR agencies],” she says. “It feels like an end of an era. [But] I’m looking at it more like it’ll be a little while. I’ll be back.”