Newell Rubbermaid Appoints Michael B. Polk

The Board of Directors of Newell Rubbermaid announced the appointment of Michael B. Polk as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective July 18. A Newell Rubbermaid director since 2009, Polk succeeds Mark Ketchum, who is retiring but intends to remain a director until the company’s next board elections in May 2012.

Polk, age 50, was most recently President of Global Foods, Home and Personal Care at Unilever, where he was responsible for the development, innovation and marketing of Unilever's entire $64 billion portfolio of categories and brands. During his eight years at Unilever, he is credited with transforming the company’s business in the Americas and, in his latest role, sharpening Unilever’s portfolio strategy and creating a more competitive, faster growing, innovation-driven organization. Polk has been a member of the Unilever Executive Board since 2007.

“Mike is an outstanding marketer, innovator and leader with a proven record of growing global brands, driving change, and delivering superior financial performance,” said Michael Cowhig, Chairman of Newell Rubbermaid’s Board of Directors. “He is the right leader at the right time to build on Newell Rubbermaid’s successful transformation and accelerate our global growth.”

“I am honored to be joining Newell Rubbermaid as President and CEO,” said Polk. “The company has a strong portfolio of brands and an excellent leadership team with a great opportunity to win in both the developed and emerging markets. In a very challenging environment, Mark and his team have strengthened the company and positioned us for growth. I am very excited about writing the next chapter of the Newell Rubbermaid story and look forward to the challenge of unlocking the full potential of the company.”

Ketchum announced in January his intention to retire after being recruited from the board five years ago to lead Newell Rubbermaid through its transformation into a marketing-driven company.

“Mark accomplished everything we asked him to do and more,” said Cowhig. “He optimized the portfolio, transformed the culture, re-engineered the supply chain and put in place a global growth strategy driven by consumer innovation and brand-building. We are grateful for Mark’s leadership, especially during the difficult economic times and through the many elements of our transformation initiatives, which sets up Newell Rubbermaid for the next stage of growth.”

“Having worked with Mike Polk while on the Newell Rubbermaid board, as well as having some common elements in our background, I know him as an extremely talented global marketer and leader,” said Ketchum. “I am extremely proud of Newell Rubbermaid’s transformation and I retire confident that the company is well positioned for growth.”

Before joining Unilever, Polk spent 16 years at Kraft Foods. His last two positions at Kraft were President, Asia Pacific Region, Kraft Foods International and President, Nabisco Biscuit & Snacks, Kraft Foods North America. In both positions, Polk served on Kraft’s Management Committee. Prior to Kraft, Polk spent three years at Procter & Gamble working in manufacturing and research & development in the Paper Products Division. Polk has a BS in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Polk has been a member of Newell Rubbermaid’s Board of Directors since 2009 and is a member of the Audit Committee. Polk is on the executive committee of the board of the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) and is the vice chairman and member of the board of the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE).


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