Unilever’s Geoff McDonald joins Burson-Marsteller with corporate purpose remit

Burson-Marsteller has appointed Geoff McDonald, Unilever’s former global VP of HR for marketing, comms, sustainability and global talent, as a senior advisor on corporate purpose and organisational change.


McDonald (pictured) spent 25 years at Unilever, working with CEO Paul Polman and chief marketing, comms and sustainability officer Keith Weed on the company’s strategy to double growth, while reducing its  environmental footprint and enhancing social impact at the same time.

In his new role, McDonald will work with a team of Burson-Marsteller consultants, including the leaders of agency’s corporate purpose and change practices, to help companies and organisations “embed corporate purpose as a driver of business performance”.

Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “Burson-Marsteller has been working on the theme of corporate purpose since 2008. We believe that companies with an authentic corporate purpose, that guides both business decisions and communications, have a real competitive advantage. Our research with IMD Business School shows that a strong and well communicated corporate purpose can impact financial performance by up to 17%.

“In addition, it also strengthens a company at times of change and crisis, by providing a common vision around which to rally its key stakeholders and engage its employees. We are delighted to welcome Geoff to our team and look forward to further strengthening our leadership in this area.

McDonald added: “Business in collaboration with all its stakeholders has the power to change the world. It is therefore of critical importance that corporations understand their purpose, beyond growth and profitability, and use it as the driver of true business performance. This is what I have learned first-hand at Unilever and I am very excited to work together with a great team at Burson-Marsteller to advise and assist their clients to become more purpose driven. Our very volatile and anxious world desperately needs this.”

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