Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Frozen to the Core - Andy Beattie, Marketing Director, Iglo Birds Eye

Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Frozen to the Core - Andy Beattie, Marketing Director, Iglo Birds Eye

Article excerpt

Returning to the office in which you worked 10 years ago would make most people feel they were taking a step backward. Iglo Birds Eye marketing director Andy Beattie describes the experience as liberating.

Having spent all his working life at Unilever, most recently in Rotterdam, Beattie has returned to its frozen-food headquarters in Walton-on-Thames - only this time, he isn't working for the FMCG giant. Rather, as marketing director of Iglo Birds Eye, he has nestled back onto a floor now owned by Permira, which bought the Birds Eye business from Unilever last year.

After six years away, Beattie claims it is like coming home - 'not to the building, but to the business and the culture'. He has also gained a sense of freedom, reflecting the project name for the sale of Unilever's frozen-foods arm - 'Liberator'. 'It was very much about freeing up the business to achieve its full potential,' says Beattie.

Liberating is also how he describes the task ahead of him: finding growth in what is already the UK's favourite frozen-food brand. 'It is about how we drive those brands even harder and how we get people to consume them more often,' he says.

One of the major changes the 39-year-old has had to get used to since taking up his new role in November has been the difference in size between Unilever and Iglo Birds Eye. 'Unilever had different challenges in terms of global brands and how you leverage that and get consumer insight that fits not only multi-category, but also multi-continent,' he explains. 'We are a smaller company. There aren't as many people, so we have to be able to multi-skill and multi-task. People genuinely feel that they can make a difference. Also, being a smaller business, I find things move much faster. We can be decisive and get on with some big decisions and changes.'

Many of the brand's growth plans extend projects that were developed while Birds Eye was at Unilever, reflecting a desire by Permira and the brand's chief executive, Martin Glenn, to focus on building from an established foundation, rather than drastic change.

From that perspective, Beattie's appointment makes perfect sense; few know the Birds Eye business better than him. 'I have worked from different perspectives and different categories, but have always been very frozen. …

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