Unilever names its new chief marketer

Conny Braams succeeds Keith Weed with a more digital mandate, while Fabian Garcia takes over as president in North America.

Unilever has named its successor to Keith Weed, appointing Conny Braams as its new chief digital and marketing officer.

Reporting to Unilever CEO Alan Jope, Braams will be responsible for marketing the entirety of the CPG giant’s global brand roster. Her new role is effective Jan. 1.

Speculation had been that Unilever would do away with the CMO title after Weed retired in May, and those rumours seem to be at least partially true, with Bramms’ position having a particular focus on digital (things like ad fraud, media transparency and influencer fraud in the digital landscape were frequent areas of focus for Weed). In today’s announcement, Jope said Braam’s experience would help Unilever become “a future-fit, fully digitized organisation at the leading edge of consumer marketing.”

Like many other CPG multinationals, Unilever has been looking to simplify its portfolio of brands (which currently numbers over 400 globally); however, the company has focused its roster on brands with purpose, with Jope having iterated on multiple occasions that brands without purpose “will have no long-term future with Unilever.”

Braams is currently Unilever’s EVP for Middle Europe, the company’s largest unit in the continent, covering Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the Nordic region. She’s held the role since 2016, having moved into progressively higher positions in different regions since starting with the company in 1990.

In addition to the new top marketer, Unilever has also named Fabian Garcia as president for Unilever North America, with current president Amanda Sourry announcing her plans to retire after 30 years with the company. Garcia will also begin his new role on Jan. 1, with Sourry assisting in the transition process.

Garcia was previously president and CEO of Revlon, having stepped down at the beginning of 2018 to “pursue new opportunities.” His tenure with the company was marked by an aggressive turnaround effort, but his departure came with the announcement of a net loss in its 2017 financial results due to competition from e-commerce and specialty beauty retail brands.