Food & Drinks

Tea supplier Ekaterra names CEO following Unilever divestment

Ekaterra, the global tea business recently sold by Unilever, has appointed a new CEO and chairperson to its board of directors.

The Lipton tea owner has hired Nathalie Roos to be its CEO, while also adding Pierre Laubies as chair of the board following the completion on 1 July of its EUR4.5bn (US$4.7bn) sale from Unilever to private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

Roos joins Ekaterra from cosmetics giant L’Oréal where she held the position of head of the group’s Professional Products division. Prior to this, she was CEO of L’Oréal in Germany, having also spent 20 years working in various senior roles for Mars. Roos will replace outgoing Ekaterra CEO John Davison.

Laubies, meanwhile, comes to the PG Tips brand owner from Dutch coffee group Jacobs Douwe Egberts, following a 30-year career featuring stints at Mars and Campbell Soup Co.

Roos hailed the “exciting growth” potential of the tea category and Ekaterra’s sustainability ambitions as key reasons for joining the company.

 “Tea holds an extraordinary role in societies around the world, steeped in tradition, culture and community spirit. It also has an incredible power to evolve and always be relevant to the times,” she insisted. “Ekaterra’s future will embody these elements too, alongside ambitious plans to become a leader in sustainable tea production, in farming and distribution methods, and also as a supporter of the communities in which we operate.

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“Tea is an exciting growth category. As consumers seek out the health benefits of antioxidant-rich teas, they are also passionate about supporting businesses that are committed to improving the natural environment and supporting their employees.”

The two appointments come as Ekaterra steps out on its own, having been acquired from Unilever by CVC.

The deal, announced in November 2021 and completed this month, did not include Unilever’s tea business in India, Nepal and Indonesia, or its stake in the Pepsi Lipton ready-to-drink tea joint venture.

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