Unilever Names Keith Weed CMO

Unilever has filled its top global marketing position with insider Keith Weed, and has expanded the role to include communications.

Weed (pictured), 48, also will take a seat on Unilever’s executive board, which is made up of top management within the company. As a result, the board will expand from nine to 10 members, according to a company representative.

Previously, Weed was an executive vice president in charge of home care, oral care and water brands. Effective April 1, he becomes chief marketing and communications officer, reporting to worldwide CEO Paul Polman. Weed succeeds Simon Clift, who as CMO also reported to Polman but didn’t sit on the executive board. (See also: “Shops Contemplate Life Without Simon.”)

“This is the first time Unilever has had a CMO at the top table and is a key step to having sharper consumer focus in the company,” Polman said, in a statement.

Weed held his evp role for about three years. Unilever has identified his successor in that post but has yet to publicly name the executive.

As chief marketing and communications officer, Weed will oversee execs in charge of media services, consumer insights, research, agency relationships and Unilever’s internal marketing academy.

Clift had been CMO since 2005, when he assumed the dual role of CMO and group vice president for personal care. He shed the personal care post in 2008. His exit marks the end of his 28-year career at the consumer packaged goods giant.

Unilever, whose global revenue totaled about $57 billion last year, is among the biggest advertising spenders worldwide. In the U.S alone last year, Unilever spent nearly $715 million in major measured media, up from $635 million in 2008, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending.