UNILEVER REASSESSES JOINT AD CHIEF POSITIONS

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As part of a continuing global reorganization, Unilever is reassessing its dual corporate advertising functions.

The giant Anglo-Dutch package-goods marketer is considering everything from abolishing the two positions to a consolidation under one executive.

LATHAM TO ARDEN

Ronald Latham, who held one of the slots in London as VP-advertising for personal care and household products, has relocated to the U.S., where he has been named exec VP of global advertising for Unilever's Elizabeth Arden unit.

A spokesman for Unilever in the U.S. confirmed the new post for Mr. Latham, but would not comment further. He declined to reveal timing of the move. Spokesmen at Unilever in Rotterdam wouldn't comment.

For now, Mr. Latham is still handling some corporate ad matters, while his previous counterpart, Michael Brockbank, VP-advertising on food products, is overseeing household as well, according to executives familiar with the situation.

"Unilever is trying to decide the best thing to do," said one London-based insider. "There are conflicting views and the options range from consolidating everything under Michael to doing away with the positions entirely."

MAY NAME SUCCESSOR

Unilever ad agency executives said it was possible a replacement may still be named for Mr. Latham's position.

As structured in the past, the two jobs have dealt primarily with policymaking on issues such as agency compensation and the transfer of best practices in agency relations and reviews.

Unilever typically leaves day-to-day ad decisions in the hands of executives at the local level.

EXECS WITH AD RESPONSIBILITY

The only other executives with extensive multinational advertising responsibility at the marketer are Marlies Ponsioen, Rotterdam-based senior ad manager who handles advertising for frozen foods and ice cream in Europe with some spillover globally; and Leo Van Of, also a Rotterdam-based senior advertising manager, who oversees advertising on food and beverages in Europe.

COUNTRY BY COUNTRY

All other ad responsibilities are handled on a country-by-country basis with spending controlled at the local level as well, according to agency executives with knowledge of Unilever's structure.

Unilever's global reorganization began in March 1996, when it realigned itself to improve regional focus.

Ad responsibilities were pushed down to "empower people to make decisions where they are closest to the markets while centralizing overall strategic control," said another London-based executive.

The reorganization has continued into this fall with a U.S. realignment that combined Chesebrough-Pond's, Helene Curtis and Lever Bros. into one unit called Unilever Home & Personal Care.

Overseeing the global reorganization is Unilever Chairman Niall FitzGerald, who is taking a keen interest in his company's advertising and who recently upset several of his global agencies with a speech he delivered to the European

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