Global consumer goods giant Unilever announced yesterday that a South African, Peter Cowan, had taken over as the boss of Unilever South Africa with effect from the beginning of this month.
Cape Town-born Cowan, who was the senior vice-president of Unilever Philippines, succeeds Marijn van Tiggelen from the Netherlands, who had been senior vice-president of Unilever South Africa for the past three years.
Van Tiggelen will be moving to China to take up the role of executive vice-president of Unilever North Asia.
“I am extremely pleased to be able to make this change that will give Peter the opportunity to build on the great work done by his predecessor,” Alan Jope, Unilever’s president for Russia, Africa and the Middle East, said.
“Peter will bring a wealth of experience to bear on the critical role of driving growth in Unilever’s biggest |African business,” he said.
“Unilever South Africa is one of the largest fast-moving consumer goods companies on the continent with more than 3 000 employees based across two offices and five manufacturing locations.
The company has been operating in South Africa for more than a century with brands like Sunlight, OMO, Lux, Knorr, Vaseline, Shield, Sunsilk and Flora, which are all household names in the country.
Cowan joined Unilever in September 2011 as a result of Unilever’s acquisition of US-based cosmetics and consumer goods firm Alberto Culver.
He started his career at Johnson&Johnson where he held a number of leadership positions in the global, regional and country divisions.
After 18 years at Johnson&Johnson, Cowan joined the New Zealand Dairy Board as group managing director for its global consumer business and then subsequently worked for Lion Nathan as group managing director, global, for wines and spirits.