Unilever raids its PR agency for new VP

GREENWICH, CT: Unilever Home & Personal Care North America poached its new VP for corporate affairs from its agency of record, Burson-Marsteller.

GREENWICH, CT: Unilever Home & Personal Care North America poached its new VP for corporate affairs from its agency of record, Burson-Marsteller.

GREENWICH, CT: Unilever Home & Personal Care North America poached its new VP for corporate affairs from its agency of record, Burson-Marsteller.

Now the former Burson employee, who started her new post in August, will sit on Unilever's worldwide board.

C. Perry Yeatman is the first person to hold the corporate affairs seat on the multinational's board.

'The creation of this board position underscores the recognition Unilever, along with other multinationals, have for corporate affairs as a strategic enabler to deliver value,' Yeatman said.

She was employed by Burson for 10 years and worked on the Unilever account for the past three, dealing primarily with its markets in Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe and parts of Western Europe.

Embracing her shift to in-house PR, Yeatman said, 'I spent the last 10 years working in 52 countries, basically coming in and doing assessments, telling companies how to build reputation.'

Generating ideas and strategies for clients to use was no longer enough of a challenge, she added. 'It got old,' Yeatman said. 'I wanted to test my theories, I wanted to know if what I had been advising was going to work as I expected.'

Serving as a board member will enable her to be involved in the decision-making process of the business.

One of her key strategies is to build the overall reputation of the brand, recognizing that the general public does not distinguish between divisions, and that most consumers have only a limited understanding of what Unilever does.

Unilever is a huge international consumer products company with sales of over dollars 45 billion. Its brands include Dove, Snuggle, Sunlight and ThermaSilk.

It has recently boosted its presence in the US with the purchase of Bestfoods.

The agency may be forgiven for being peeved that one of its stars was stolen by one of its major clients. But Yeatman said Burson supported her.

'They agreed there was no greater opportunity for a communications person today,' she said. 'We are one of the world's biggest companies and no one knows who we are.'

Unilever has boosted its PR staff lately. Last month it brought Stephen Milton from its UK office to be PR director in its NY corporate office.





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