Reckitt & Colman recruits exec for new global post

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LONDON -- Reckitt & Colman has appointed Charlotte Pinder to the new position of global category director for its $334 million polishes business.

Ms. Pinder, who has worked in international markets and for clients such as Pepsi International and British telecom company BT, as well as for Grey Advertising, joined R&C's global headquarters in Chiswick, London, on April 30 with a brief to bring synergy to the polishes category.

Previously, the polishes business was split into three divisions - shoe care, floor care and furniture care - headed by regional marketing directors responsible for Latin America, Africa & the Middle East and the U.K. respectively.

"This [appointment and creation of a global category] gives an increased focus; it's an important part of the business," says Cheri Lofland, head of group communications at the worldwide headquarters. When the company restructured and announced four global categories two years ago, "we didn't have the critical mass or the right person to give [polishes] global leadership," she adds. R&C now has nine global categories ranging from air care and pest control through analgesics and antiseptics, together contributing sales for 1997 of $3.7 billion.

The strategy set out under Phillip Darnton, the group director of global marketing brought in from Unilever in 1996, and to whom Ms. Pinder reports, is for global efficiencies wherever possible, says Ms. Lofland. But "we don't want to lose the equity we've built in our brands."

Many of the R&C products use the same formulation and packaging, for example, but are marketed under separate brand names in different regions. Mr. Sheen is a furniture polish brand in the U.K. and Australasia that goes by the Mr. Min name in South Africa and by O'Cedar in the rest of Europe, for instance. Similarly, Cherry Blossom shoe polish in South Asia trades as Nugget in Latin America.

McCann-Erickson Worldwide, lead by the London office, handles the business around the world, except where there are conflicts. Ms. Lofland dismisses any suggestion of an ad review as a result of Ms. Pinder's arrival, pointing to the fact that global campaigns are only just coming on stream following consolidation with one agency just two years ago.

Ms. Pinder was previously head of consumer marketing at BT. Before that, she had been European marketing director for Pepsi International, moving on to become general manager for Ireland. She has also worked for Grey Advertising, some of the time in Tokyo. "She has a good mix of agency, corporate and international experience which were important qualities for us now because our business is so global," says Ms. Lofland.

Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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