Executives on the move / financial results

Nestlé Zone Asia CEO steps down after firm posts nine-month sales growth

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Chris Johnson will succeed Wan Ling Martello to be Nestlé Zone AOA's CEO next year. Pic: Nestlé
Chris Johnson will succeed Wan Ling Martello to be Nestlé Zone AOA's CEO next year. Pic: Nestlé

Related tags Nestlé

Nestlé Zone Asia, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa (AOA) CEO, Wan Ling Martello, will leave the KitKat maker as well as its group executive board by the end of 2018.

Martello first joined the company as chief financial officer in 2011, and she was appointed as CEO of Zone AOA in 2015, according to Nestlé.

‘Under her leadership, Zone AOA became the most profitable and fastest growing business within the Nestlé group,’​ it said. ‘Martello’s passion for digital transformation and her thorough understanding of the new retail economy gave a positive impetus to the whole company.’

According to Mark Schneider, CEO of the Swiss-based company, Chris Johnson will succeed Martello’s position, effective January 1, 2019.

Johnson has held several leadership roles in markets, businesses and global functions, with extensive experience in Asia over his 35-year career with Nestlé. He was appointed as market head of Nestlé Taiwan 1998 before leading the company’s Japanese team in 2007.

Schneider said Martello’s drive and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship are “a great motivation”​ for Nestlé overall, and he respects her decision to leave the firm.

He added: “We are convinced that [Johnson’s] extensive and longstanding business experience in the Asia Pacific region will support our significant growth ambitions there.

“Chris is a growth-oriented executive and his creativity as well as his engaging style will help us to take our business in Zone Asia, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa to the next level.”

AOA posts highest growth in nine months

Martello’s departure announcement came shortly after Nestlé posted its nine-month organic sales growth for 2018, with AOA representing the highest growth rate of 4.4% compared to other regions, reaching CHF 15.8bn ($15.9bn).

According to Nestlé, Zone AOA’s consistent mid-single-digit organic growth is supported by all geographies and categories, including confections.

For example, the growth in South Asia was driven by strong momentum in Maggi and KitKat, while Japan and Oceania posted positive growth supported by the launches of Nescafé Gold and KitKat Gold in Australia.

Additionally, Nestlé’s confectionery portfolio also fueled the growth of its Zone Europe, Middle-East and North Africa (EMENA), which posted a 1.6% organic sales increase, reaching CHF 13.7bn ($13.8bn).

The company’s confectionery business overall registered a 2% organic growth rate, reaching CHF 5.54bn ($5.56bn) in sales, yet it trailed some of the other higher-growth units, including petcare (4%) and water (2.4%).

Nestlé posted a 2.8% organic sales growth during the nine-month period, reaching CHF 66.42bn ($66.72bn) worth of revenues in total. Its organic sales growth for full-year 2018 is expected to be around 3%.

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