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Geoff Whyte to leave Cadbury

Geoff Whyte, Commercial Director Cadbury Africa, Middle East, has announced that he will be leaving the company at the end of April 2010, following the recent takeover of the company by Kraft Foods.

Whyte, who joined Cadbury in 2006 as Group Marketing Director, is credited with leading a renaissance that saw the company become a driving force in South African marketing. During his tenure, the company set successive all-time market share highs in every category in which they operate – chocolate, candy and chewing gum.

Whyte’’s focus on marketing fundamentals saw the company’s flagship Dairy Milk brand grow its market share by an impressive ten percentage points hitting an all time high in 2009. Under his tenure Cadbury also took market leadership from Nestlé in the ultra competitive countlines market with brand innovation, renovation and award winning advertising on brands including Lunch Bar, Tempo and Flake. Cadbury now leads Nestlé in this segment of the market by a substantial margin.

Whyte is also widely recognised as the driving force behind the democratisation of the South African chocolate market through the introduction of a smaller, more affordable range of Cadbury’’s best loved brands. This created a whole new market for chocolate and helped Cadbury significantly extend its position as the leading local brand.

Whyte was promoted to Commercial Director for Africa, Middle East in 2008 where he applied the same approach to raising Cadbury’’s game in territories across this region. Recent successes included the multi-market rollout of South African chocolate bar P.S. to a number of countries across North Africa and the Arabian Gulf and the repositioning of the giant Bournvita and Tom-Tom brands in Nigeria.

Whyte’’s achievements were recognised in 2009, when he was voted Sunday Times ‘Marketer of the Year’ by a panel of his peers.

Commenting on Whyte’’s departure, Lawrence MacDougall, President of Kraft Foods Sub Saharan Africa, said: “”Geoff’’s passion for marketing and understanding of the consumer has led him to being a contributor to a number of global projects, representing many of the ground breaking initiatives experienced in Southern Africa and globally. He has placed the Cadbury brand at the forefront of the marketing industry and on consumer minds.””

Explaining his decision Whyte commented” ““The decision to leave Cadbury was a difficult one, but accepting a role in Kraft’’s regional structure would have meant relocating to Europe or travelling two to three weeks a month from South Africa. In the end that was the deciding factor for me. I want to live and work in South Africa, which despite its problems, continues to inspire me every day”.”

Whyte adds: ““The hardest part of this call has been the knowledge that I leave behind a world class team of people that I hold in the highest regard. All the success we have enjoyed in the last four years is down to their ideas, energy and ambition to do great work.

“I’m delighted, however, that Mike Middleton will be picking up the marketing reins of the South African business – I can think of no-one better to take on this challenging role. I’’m also heartened to know that the new Kraft/Cadbury organisation in Sub Saharan Africa will be led by Lawrence MacDougall. Lawrence is an outstanding leader and the reason I joined Cadbury four years ago. I wish him, Mike and the new organisation every future success.”

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