Tim Skellern, who spent three years with Wattie's after immigrating to New Zealand from the UK in 2004 before throwing in the towel to set up his own company in 2007, has returned to the nurturing bosom of Heinz Wattie's to take up the role of general manager marketing.
Skellern, who takes over from Mike Pretty, now vice president Global Ketchup, Health & Wellness and marketing development for parent company, HJ Heinz, has a strong background in consumer marketing in the UK and New Zealand.
As Business Manager – Meal Solutions with Wattie's, he played a leading role in the creation of two major marketing campaigns, the award-winning FMCG television commercial 'Wattie’s – What Else!' and Beanman, perhaps the world's only legume superhero (moderately interesting bean fact: most commercial baked beans are stewed, not baked).
He left this role to establish his own brand consultancy business, Black Sheep Brands, in 2007 and worked on brand and marketing programmes with Sacred Hill Wines, Tegel Foods and other consumer goods companies. He is also an industry representative on the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation Council.
In the UK, he worked with Unilever, including periods as regional brand manager and global project manager for the Lynx (Axe) male grooming range, and also for Bausch and Lomb, as European marketing manager, responsible for sunglass brands including Ray-Ban.
“Wattie’s is an amazing brand, and remains consistently the number one grocery brand in New Zealand. In addition, there are a number of other leading brands within the Heinz Wattie’s portfolio that all have enormous consumer potential," Skellern says. "Making sure that the Wattie’s brand stable is in good health, meeting consumers’ needs and fulfilling their potential is critical. Growth will come from our collective understanding of consumers better than anyone else and continuing to deliver real, relevant and appreciable value.”
Heinz Wattie’s managing director Nigel Comer says Skellern, who takes up the new role on March 15, already has a strong understanding of the Wattie’s brand and and its consumer base and thinks his style will complement the strong leaders in the existing senior marketing team.