Former CMO to become Unilever's new A/NZ chief

T2 global chief and experienced marketing leader takes the reins of the FMCG giant locally from April

Nicole Sparshott
Nicole Sparshott

T2 CEO and experienced FMCG marketing leader, Nicole Sparshott, will take over the Australia and New Zealand reins at Unilever next month after the retirement of local CEO, Clive Stiff.

The FMCG giant confirmed Stiff’s retirement last week following eight years as CEO of A/NZ and 34 years in the industry. Sparshott will officially assume the CEO position in April and also retains global leadership of the T2 business. She reports directly to global COO, Nitin Paranjpe.

In a statement, Unilever noted Sparshott’s deep experience in general manager, brand development and marketing as well as her belief in purpose-built business as key reasons for her appointment.

Sparshott has spent nearly four years a CEO of T2 based out of Singapore, working to build up the business through international market expansion, as well as channel diversification. She’s also spearheaded business transformation and led T2 to gain B-Corp accreditation.

During a keynote presentation at CMO Momentum 2019, Sparshott highlighted these efforts she’d spearheaded to reinvigorate the T2 business and take it global, from new customer understanding and segmentation, to fostering a spirit of innovation across teams.  

Prior to this, Sparshott held marketing positions at Procter & Gamble, The Coca-Cola Company and also worked at advertising agency, George Patterson.

Read more: CMO to CEO: Brewing up global business growth

“Having started my Unilever career in the A/NZ business, I’m delighted to be returning to Australia to lead this fantastic organisation,” she commented. “Consumer trends and preferences are evolving rapidly, providing brands with an opportunity to be more innovative and dynamic than ever before.”

Sparshott noted Stiff’s comprehensive work to transform the Unilever business, a task that’s included digitisation, championing sustainability and M&A activity.

“By Leading Unilever A/NZ during a period of significant change, Clive has laid a strong foundation of agility in the business, paving the way for our next stage of growth in this market,” she said.

For his part, Stiff said it had been a privilege leading the local business for eight years and said he leaves with a “strong sense of pride”.

“I leave with a strong sense of pride in what our talented team has achieved together over this time - from continuing to deliver great brands and innovation for our consumers and retail partners, through to better serving our society and planet with the way we do business,” he said. “I’m also confident that I’m leaving the business in very good hands under Nicky’s leadership.”

The news comes as rumours circulate around a potential sale of the T2 tea chain. During its most recent financial announcements, the company reportedly told investors it was cooling on its tea division, worth about $4.9 billion, after continual low sales growth, and was conducting a strategic review as a result. The division includes iconic brands such as Lipton, PG Tips and Bushells.

Unilever acquired the T2 business in 2013, 17 years after the business founded its first store in Melbourne.

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