SunRice marketing and insights chief departs

Andrew Jeffrey reflects on his local and international marketing efforts at SunRice and next steps

Seeking new challenges after charting the international cycle of agribusiness is in the sights of SunRice’s head of marketing and insights, Andrew Jeffrey, who finishes up with the company this week.  

Jeffrey is departing the Australian-based business after a four-year stint. He joined the FMCG in 2018 after senior marketing, strategy and category development roles with Coca-Cola, Campbell Arnott’s and Nestle.  

Jeffrey said he’s had a great four years with SunRice overseeing marketing and insights across 55 countries and five global regions: Middle East, Asia, Pacific Islands, North America and A/NZ.  

“It’s a category that is at the heart of cultures. For a marketer, representing an Australian business in these regions and connecting with consumers in such diverse parts of the world has been truly rewarding,” he told CMO.  

“My decision to leave is more driven by the desire to seek a new challenge, having been through a full cycle of experiences at SunRice. Along with the many highs with such a business, an international agribusiness comes with its fair share of challenges - drought, record low crops, shipping challenges, covid, geo-political realities to name a few. I feel now the business is broadly through these times, it is a good time to move on in the knowledge the business is in good health.”  

Jeffrey is planning to take some time out before settling on his next step. He said his career motivations are driven by several distinct principles.  

“My passion is to seek a role in a business where I can truly make a difference for consumers, for the business and for the people who I work with and who work for me,” he said. “I am motivated in finding an interesting challenge in a business with a strong culture and values. These key attributes mean more to me more than any more traditional motivations.”

And Jeffrey will bring plenty of learnings from his time as a marketer at SunRice. “SunRice has a lean structure for such a geographically diverse business,” he explained. “I have really learnt how to get the balance between rigorously pursuing some of my more purist marketing principles with a good dose of pragmatism and agility.”  

A particular achievement for Jeffrey has been how the marketing function has taken the brands forward, enhancing market share and consumer connection, supported by really strong brand communications and innovations. SunRice is the trading name for Ricegrowers Australia and has several brands and businesses in its portfolio including SunRice, SunWhite, Riviana Foods, SunFoods and Solrais.  

“I have loved helping to develop those who I work with to be empowered balanced commercial marketers who can act with urgency and at the same time make smart consumer-first decisions,” Jeffrey said. “I have learnt that while your broader external environment can often be challenging, having the ability to be agile while maintaining a steadfast belief in being consumer-centric allows your business, brands and team to thrive.  

“With the benefit of a sizeable crop and a positive outlook, SunRice is well placed to continue its positive momentum in its next chapter.”   

While highlighting local Australian retail sales growth and partnerships as milestones over his tenure, Jeffrey’s has cherished the international successes.  

“With a mostly Sydney based team, I have very much enjoyed the successes we have achieved in really connecting with local consumers who relate to rice and mealtime in culturally very different ways to those we are personally familiar with,” he commented.  

Marketing programs of work that have been instrumental include TV campaigning in the Solomon Islands during the Soccer World cup, a pan-Arab campaign across the Middle Eastern markets, and expansion of SunRice’s snacking brands into new markets in Asia such as China, Hong Kong and Singapore.  

“I was also very proud of our collaboration with identity communications in developing our program connecting with rice loving Australians from ethnic food heritages,” Jeffrey said. This led the team to winning the NSW Premiers Multicultural Award for Campaign of the Year.   

CMO understands SunRice has appointed Kellogg’s marketer and current NZ general manager, Tamara Howe, as its new marketing chief, commencing end of February. 

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