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Unilever announces new leadership change for Australia and New Zealand


Average read time: 4 minutes

World scene with characters and Unilever logo. Farmer plants crop. Trees, sun, hills, wind farm

Unilever Australia and New Zealand has today announced the appointment of Nick Bangs as Head of Country for Australia and New Zealand, with former CEO Nicky Sparshott appointed to the global role of Chief of Transformation at Unilever.

Nick Bangs has been with Unilever for 20 years, having first started his career as a graduate in the Unilever Future Leaders Program in 2003. Over the past two decades, Nick has worked in a variety of roles, predominantly within customer development, both locally and internationally. More recently, Nick oversaw the New Zealand business as Managing Director from 2016 to 2021, before moving back to Australia to take on the role of General Manager for Unilever’s Homecare, Beauty and Personal Care business.

Nicky Sparshott joined Unilever ANZ in 2006 as Marketing Director for Foods, Ice Cream and Beverages, before moving to Singapore to take up various Asia Pacific leadership roles in Ice Cream and Beverages. Nicky was appointed Global CEO of T2 in 2016 and in 2020, she was appointed the role of CEO of Unilever ANZ. Nicky held this dual role for 2 years until 2022 when the tea business globally was sold to CVC Capital Partners.

Nicky is credited with leading the ANZ business through the tremendous challenges of the past few years to ensure the continuous supply of essential goods for Australians and New Zealanders, while also delivering exceptional business results and driving progress against Unilever’s sustainability targets.

Some key highlights in her role as CEO include driving Unilever ANZ’s recent B Corp Certification, becoming the first multinational company to roll out a four-day work week trial, presenting at the 2022 TEDx Sydney event and being named 2022 CEO of the Year by The CEO Magazine. Under her leadership, Unilever ANZ was named the Australian Financial Review Best Place to Work in the manufacturing and consumer goods category in 2022, and an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality, as rated by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), for five years. Nicky will continue to serve on the Boards of Worldwide Fund for Nature Australia, Global Sisters, and the University of Technology Vice Chancellors Advisory Board, amongst others.

The leadership change comes as part of Unilever’s Compass Organisation transformation. Nicky’s new role will lead this continued transformation from a global perspective. It will focus on implementing large, strategic, cultural and systems changes to drive competitive advantage for the organisation. 

Nicky says, “I feel privileged to have led Unilever Australia & New Zealand through such transformative times over the past three years. I continue to be amazed by the incredible passion and drive of our Unilever ANZ team members and our partners to deliver business outcomes in a manner that is good for people and planet. I am delighted to be passing the reins to Nick, who has been an incredible colleague and change agent over the last few years. I have no doubt the best is yet to come for Unilever ANZ.” 

In his new role, Nick looks forward to leading for purpose-led growth at Unilever, with a focus on building brands with purpose including Dove, Rexona and Hellmann’s. He is passionate about building strong retail partnerships that deliver great business results, whilst bringing sustainability to life in ways that are simple and cost-effective for consumers. Within the business, Nick is passionate about driving a strong and thriving performance culture; aligning work to values and ensuring Unilever remains famous for building great careers.

Nick says: “It is truly an honour to get the opportunity to lead the Unilever business in Australia and New Zealand – a business I have grown up in and one I am passionate to lead into the future. Nicky has been a wonderful leader who leaves behind a tremendous legacy, and I am fully committed to continuing to drive the high-impact, triple bottom line (people, planet and profit) focus that she embedded throughout the business. I speak on behalf of the entire team at Unilever when I say how grateful we are for her passion and fearless leadership over the last few years. We wish her every success in her new role.”

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