Nestlé appoints Richard Watson as UK region CEO, with Stefano Agostini moving to European role

Richard Watson, managing director for Nestlé Confectionery in the UK & Ireland, is set to become the new CEO of its British and Irish business region, with the role’s present postholder, Stefano Agostini, moving to a role as chief executive for confectionery within its European territory, writes Neill Barston.

The UK region has been a particularly strong performer for the company over the decades, being the original production base for its flagship KitKat brand, which has resulted in a strong pipeline of innovation for the company.

Watson (pictured main image) has presently been with the company for 27 years and will take up his latest role from the start of March, while Agostini joined Nestlé in 1989 and became CEO of Nestlé UK and Ireland in 2017. According to the business, he had set notable growth targets that helped deliver a turnover of more than £3 billion during a period of substantial global change.

Stefano Agostini (above) said: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to lead this great business in the UK and Ireland. I am proud of the many things that we have achieved as a team, the way we have risen to challenges and moved our business forward.

“Our food industry is a valuable asset to the UK and Ireland and I have been proud to work alongside other manufacturers, retailers and farmers to help raise the voice of our sector and make it more resilient.”

“My family has made this country home and I am thankful for the brilliant and welcoming people we have lived and worked alongside. I am excited about the challenge ahead, leading our Confectionery business across Europe, and I wish Richard all the very best as he steps into a role that I have truly enjoyed for the last six years.”

Richard Watson has spent the last six years heading up Nestlé UK & Ireland’s Confectionery division, where he has built a team that has driven growth, increased market share and pioneered a number of significant innovations in the category.

Richard Watson said: “I am honoured and incredibly excited to be taking on such an important role at such an important time. The UK and Ireland means a lot to Nestlé and it means a lot to me. I first joined Nestlé Purina in the UK in 1996 and have been lucky enough to build a career here over the last quarter of a century.

“This is one of Nestlé’s biggest markets and, from experience, I know it’s a great place to do business, to innovate, to grow and to work with very talented people. Equally, I know Nestlé continues to have a huge role to play in the UK and Ireland. We are a big part of communities here as a major manufacturer, an employer, an exporter and we are fortunate to provide many brands that families and pets have been relying on and enjoying for generations.

“I would like to thank Stefano for his leadership in the last six years and wish him well in his new role. I am really looking forward to getting started and leading this brilliant team into its exciting next phase.”

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