Mars Wrigley confectionery appoints global chief growth officer

US-headquartered Mars Wrigley has confirmed the appointment of Cathryn Sleight to the newly expanded role of global chief growth officer after joining the business last year.

As the business noted, her enhanced position will lead the confectionery division’s global marketing, innovation, insights and analytics together with the business development agenda for the segment, as it continues to expand despite present global pandemic challenges.

The company, (US confectionery manufacturing facilities pictured below), remains at the forefront of the segment with its ranges including the classic Mars bars, M&Ms Snickers, Twix, Dove Chocolate, as well as its gum operations retaining strong market share.

Sleight, currently serving as President of Global Business Development and reporting to Mars Wrigley global president Andrew Clarke, broadens her remit to assume end-to-end responsibility for global category growth. The transition comes upon Berta de Pablos Barbier’s personal decision to step down from her current role as global chief growth officer to pursue an international move back home with her family after a successful 18-year career with Mars.

“I’m delighted to expand Cathryn’s remit and bring together the critical core capabilities required to deliver category growth. She will continue to drive excellence in how we utilise our global reach, iconic brands and brilliant Associates to build the category and evolve how brands connect with consumers,” said Andrew Clarke, global president of Mars Wrigley. “We will miss Berta’s energy and authentic leadership. She and her team have made important contributions to Mars Wrigley’s ambition to create the future of treating and snacking, galvanising the Marketing function by bringing growth levers and capabilities together with innovation and insights.”

Sleight, whose extensive industry experience includes having worked for Unilever in the UK, commented: “I was first attracted to Mars as a purpose-led, principles-driven business. Working with some of the world’s biggest and most-loved brands that I’ve grown up with, with such a talented team of Associates and partners is a huge privilege. Treating and snacking is a vibrant and expansive category with tremendous growth potential. The opportunity to strengthen the legacy of our brands, continuing to make them relevant for today’s occasions and inspire more smiles across the globe is a great brief.”

Since joining in August 2019, Cathryn Sleight has been a member of the Mars Wrigley Leadership Team, sharpening our business development and reinvention strategy. Prior to joining Mars, Sleight had established a successful, 30-plus year marketing career at major multinational food and beverage companies including The Coca-Cola Company, and while at Unilever, she had latterly led the Global Food Category, spending nearly a decade developing and executing global brand renovation and innovation agendas and leading strategies to identify M&A and new category growth opportunities.

To ensure a smooth transition, Berta de Pablos Barbier will leave Mars Wrigley at the end of September after an impressive career which began as an R&D intern, and spanned four continents, six countries and various functional and business leadership positions including her most recent role as Global Chief Growth Officer. Her vision has been instrumental in brand successes like the 75th anniversary of M&Ms, our Dove Chocolate partnership with CARE International to help women in cocoa growing communities; and for the U.S. integration of Mars Chocolate and Wrigley.

Reflecting on nearly two decades with Mars, de Pablos added: “Mars has been an incredible home for me to build my career doing the work I love to build brands and cultivate talent across a global business. As a family-owned company that has supported my development across myriad roles and locations, Mars fully understood my decision to put my family at the centre of my next best move. I leave with gratitude for the fantastic partners, mentors and Associates I’ve found here, and pride for the impact we’ve made together.”

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