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Nestle Hires Pete Blackshaw as Global Digital Chief

Nielsen, P&G Veteran Takes Role With Largest CPG Player

By Published on . 2

BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Nestle has hired Pete Blackshaw, a longtime digital and social marketing guru, Nielsen Co. executive and Advertising Age columnist, as its new global head of digital marketing and social media.

Pete Blackshaw
Pete Blackshaw

The move, effective March 1, puts Mr. Blackshaw in charge of digital marketing at what's easily the largest packaged-goods marketer in the world with $110 billion in sales, albeit one that generally keeps a lower profile and spends less on measured media than behemoths such as Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever.

Mr. Blackshaw will report both to Tom Buday, head of marketing and consumer communication, and Rudolf Ramsauer, head of corporate communications at Nestle.

"Nestle already has a wide range of social media activities across the world under different brands," said Robin Tickle, head of corporate media relations for Nestle, in an email. "Pete was selected to give this activity more coherence and alignment across global marketing and corporate communications activities."

Mr. Blackshaw, who referred questions to Nestle, is chief marketing officer of NM Incite, the joint venture of Nielsen Co. and consulting firm McKinsey & Co. He's worked for Nielsen since 2006, when the company acquired a majority stake in BuzzMetrics and Intelliseek, the latter of which had acquired Mr. Blackshaw's consumer-review site PlanetFeedback.com in 2001.

He started that business in 1999 after serving as digital brand manager at P&G, which he joined out of Harvard Business School. Earlier, he served as press secretary for California Democratic state Sen. Art Torres.

Mr. Blackshaw will relocate to Nestle's Vevey, Switzerland, headquarters from Cincinnati, where he has lived since joining P&G in 1995. He's also likely to step down from his post as chairman of the Council of Better Business Bureaus as he takes the new post.

Nestle is possibly best known in social media for its tussle with activists led by Greenpeace who criticized the company for buying palm oil from producers that destroy rain forests. The controversy subsided last year after Nestle said it would stop buying palm oil from such producers, following a path earlier taken by Unilever and Greenpeace.

But Nestle had a bruising social-media battle on its way to coming to terms with the group. At one point Nestle got YouTube to remove a Greenpeace video it said infringed on the company's trademark, and the company angered some Facebook users by warning them their wall posts on its fan page would be removed if they used altered Nestle logos as their profile pictures.

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