Colgate-Palmolive elects new CEO

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Global oral and personal care player Colgate-Palmolive has
announced that Ian Cook has taken over from Reuben Mark as CEO of
the company as part of a long-term succession plan that will allow
the out-going Mark to retire.

Colgate-Palmolive has been enjoying renewed vigor of late, after a comprehensive restructuring plan under Mark, together with Cook's input as company's COO, returned it back to significant growth last year, further underlining its dominance of the global oral care category. The fact that the company is currently performing well and that the succession of Cook has been long in the planning, suggests that Cook's appointment is unlikely to see any significant change in the company policy in short-term. Cook, 55, was elected as president and chief executive officer to the board of directors, officially taking up the position on July 1. He joined the UK branch of the company in 1976, and progressed through the ranks in a succession of management roles, culminating in his appointment to president and COO for worldwide operations in 2005. Reuben, 68, joined Colgate in 1963 and was made CEO in 1984. During his time behind the wheel, he has seen the company grow into a business with a $11.4bn turnover and an estimated net income of $1.35bn. Indeed, during 2006 the company experienced sales growth of 7.5 per cent - an all time record. However, net income came in at exactly the same figure as 2005, a result that was largely due to restructuring charges. As a key member of the board, Cook has played an integral part in the recent move to restructure the company and to expand into new areas, including last year's purchase of natural oral care player Tom's Of Maine. In the company's 2006 financial report Cook stated: "Our market shares are improving steadily. These increases are driven by our tight focus on the consumer, increasing our marketing spending, using new types of communication vehicles and conducting consumption building activities in emerging markets around the world." ​Upon the appointment, Cook stated that he would be looking forward to continuing "Colgate's long history of profitablegrowth achieved under Reuben's leadership." ​Back in June the company reported broad top-line growth for its Q2 results, but stated that profits had been hit by hefty charges. Net income for the quarter stood at $283.6m, a 17 per cent drop from the $342.9m reported for the corresponding quarter in 2005. Restructuring charges were a hefty $115m for the second quarter, compared to $28m for the corresponding quarter in the previous year. The company introduced its restructuring program in 2004, leading to to slash its workforce and synergize its production facilities. The restructuring program is scheduled to last a further two years and is eventually expected to help the company save approximately $300m a year. At the time Mark said that the company had achieved its objectives for its gross margin, with spend on advertising, and profitability all being extended as a consequence. "Our core businesses are robust, with our oral care sales growing 12 per cent worldwide, led by double digit growth inNorth America,Latin Americaand GreaterAsia,"​ said Mark.

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