Announcement comes at conference
Colgate Chairman-CEO Reuben Mark, 67, who has led the company for two decades, made the announcement at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. Some people close to the company have long expected Mr. Mark would pass the baton this year, which marks the 200th anniversary of the company.
Mr. Mark said Mr. Cook, originally scheduled to be present at CAGNY, is “right now on vacation ... with his family in the Caribbean, and since he will soon be chief executive, he should take all the vacations he can prior to that time.”
Mr. Mark said Mr. Cook will take over as CEO in 2007 and that the Colgate board has asked him to stay on as chairman for a “short time” after that.
Entire career with Colgate
Mr. Cook, 53, who, like Mr. Mark, has spent his entire career at the company, is a Brit who joined the company in the U.K. in 1976 before moving onto positions in the Philippines, Latin America and the Nordic Group.
He has been president of all Colgate regions outside the key Latin America market since 2004 when he was appointed to his current role. He beat out current Vice Chairman Javier Teruel and Lois Juliber, who left the company last year, as heir apparent to Mr. Mark.
WPP Group’s Y&R Advertising handles most creative for Colgate-Palmolive globally, while sibling Mediaedge:cia handles media. Siboney USA and UniWorld, both New York, handle Hispanic and African American advertising, respectively, in the U.S.