Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nestlé senior management changes: strategic continuity ensured

Earlier this week, it was announced that the Deputy Executive Vice President in charge of Nestlé Professional, Marc Caira, will retire at the end of April 2013 after 36 years with the Nestlé group. Marc was instrumental in setting up Nestlé Professional’s two growth platforms: branded beverage solutions and food solutions for the out-of-home industry. In his place, the Board of Directors has decided to appoint Martial Rolland, currently market head of Nestlé France, to succeed Marc Caira. Rolland has extensive business experience with a successful track record, both in emerging and developed markets.

In the press release, similar statements were made for Rolland’s successor, Girardot, and Girardot’s successor, and so on for 3 steps down the organizational chart away from the original announcement.  The amount of detail and time spent introducing the executive team members in their new roles is a sign that Nestle wants to ensure that they are providing strategic continuity and maintain operational capacity.

This recalls 2 of the strategy types described in the first reading for the week, identifying “low cost leadership” and “customer relationship.” The way the press release was written- ensuring detailed information of the successor’s previous roles in the organization expresses a commitment to the company, but also hints that these are seasoned executives who require minimal oversight as they transition into their new roles. Likewise, by expanding on their talents, which were often described as “managing” or “motivating” in several market types, implies these executives are chosen for their ability to maintain the relationships that were previously established under previous leadership and to expand the progress.

The Nestle brand has evolved over the years and where it has landed is recognizable but adaptable to different products. I associate this branding strategy with the business strategy – familiar but worldly – and I believe the way these changes are being handled and announced supports that image. Executives from different countries are stepping in to fill the shoes of a stranger, but within the Nestle family. It is vital to define the personality of your brand and have this as the core of your strategy.

What’s your brand personality and its associated strategy type?

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