Kantar has gone for packaged goods and retail experience – as well as a former client – to find a successor to Eric Salama, recruiting former Procter & Gamble and Heineken marketing chief Alexis Nasard as its new chief executive.
Nasard joins next month after a career which spans almost 30 years. Since 2016, has been CEO of the Bata Corporation, a family run business set up in 1894 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The firm claims to be the world’s biggest shoemaker by volume and has more than 5,300 shops in over 70 countries.
Prior to that, Nasard spent six years at Heineken, ultimately as president of Western Europe Business and global CMO. Earlier, he worked for 17 years at P&G, in a variety of marketing and general management roles.
Salama left the company he helped to build into a $4bn (£3.19bn) business in the spring, after new majority owner Bain Capital scrapped plans to keep him on until a successor was found.
The move came just days after former FA, Royal Mail and ITV chief executive Adam Crozier took over as chairman, although it has been claimed that he was not “closely involved” in the process.
Salama announced in December that he would be stepping down this summer for “personal reasons” after recovering from a stabbing in London last year.
Crozier said: “In Alexis we have appointed a world-class CEO. As a former CMO and client he understands the value Kantar delivers, and the role it plays in advising the world’s biggest consumer brands.
“Throughout his career Alexis has built a reputation for innovation, creativity and operational excellence. As we transform our business and position ourselves for growth, Alexis’ leadership and international experience will be instrumental in fulfilling the ambition that we have for Kantar.”
Nasard added: “Throughout my career Kantar has been a trusted advisor. Kantar’s data, insights and advice informed many of the strategies, as well as communication and commercial plans my teams and I led.
“As much as I understand Kantar’s heritage and reputation today, it is our future that excites me most. The combination of Kantar’s deep understanding of consumers around the world, our proprietary data sets and our growing expertise in advanced analytics and artificial intelligence puts us in a leading position to reshape the insights and consulting market, whilst offering clients superior analytics they can monetise.
“This will be all the more relevant in the volatile and fluctuating environment we are living in as a consequence of the Covid-19 health and economic crisis, as clients need to operate on very steep learning curves.”
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