Newell Rubbermaid Starts Global Media Agency Review

Alan Rutherford of Media Consultancy Axiology, and Unilever Alum, is Supporting the Search

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Credit: John Kuczala

Newell Rubbermaid has begun a review of its global-media-agency business less than a year after bringing on a new chief marketing officer.

Richard Davies (not to be confused with the Richard Davies of Reckitt Benckiser) assumed the role of Newell Rubbermaid CMO late last year. The New Zealand native most recently led global insights at Unilever. Strangely, Reckitt Benckiser's Mr. Davies also recently left Unilever, where he oversaw media.

Alan Rutherford, chairman of media consultancy Axiology, is supporting the search. Like Mr. Davies, he also oversaw media at Unilever until 2007.

A Newell spokesman declined to comment. Mr. Rutherford did not respond to requests for comment.

According to its 10-K for 2012, the company reported $146.8 million in global advertising expenses, plus cooperative advertising or trade-promotion costs of $118.5 million, which were treated as a reduction of net sales under accounting rules. According to Kantar, the company spent $12 million on domestic measured media in 2012.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies

There is not one media agency that supports the bulk of the company's global work, according to a Newell spokesman. But the move to potentially hire a shop with a multi-region scope is in line with the company's decision to hire a CMO with a global background. Mr. Davies' consumer-insights function at Unilever spanned more than 700 people in 50 countries. When he took on the role at Newell, the company said in a statement that he is a "noted expert on the consumer market in China and has lived and worked across Asia during his 30-year career." That includes time at Unilever in such roles as chairman of Taiwan, senior VP of skin care for Asia, VP-marketing of Unilever Japan and other senior marketing roles in Korea and Taiwan.

Former Newell CMO Ted Woehrle touted a mostly U.S. background. He had been VP-marketing for North America at P&G before joining Newell Rubbermaid.

Rubbermaid spans various categories, including consumer goods, home goods, tools, parenting brands and namesake health and commercial products. More well known, consumer-facing brands include Sharpie, Paper Mate and Calphalon, among others.

Contributing: Jack Neff

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