LONDON: Simon Clift, chief marketing officer of Unilever, the FMCG giant, has announced that he is to retire from the company in the next few months.

Clift joined the Anglo-Dutch firm in 1982, working in several countries including the UK, Brazil, Mexico and Austria before becoming its first chief marketing officer in June 2008.

Alongside developing the marketing strategies for brands such as Axe and Persil, he was also credited with spearheading Dove's highly-successful Campaign for Real Beauty.

"I've been mulling this over for a while. I've spent my whole career at Unilever, and for a long time I was able to move to a new country every three years. This CMO role has essentially seen me in the same office for ten years," Clift said.

He added that one of his key achievements as cmo was to have "made space for talented people to push the boat out a bit."

"If that constitutes a maverick ... then we need lots more mavericks," he continued.

The owner of Knorr and Cif has reviewed its PR, digital and media agency rosters in the last year, and confirmed earlier this week that Mindshare had retained media duties in areas including North America and Western Europe.

Paul Polman, who was appointed as Unilever's ceo in September 2008, said "Simon has done a great service to Unilever and left his mark in many areas that we will benefit from for years to come."

"We have with Axe or Dove some of the biggest innovations of the past decade, or led the move to alternative media in many areas."

Unilever has an estimated annual media budget of $5.7 billion (€4.1bn, £3.6bn) according to the latest figures, making it the second-largest advertiser in the world, behind Procter & Gamble.

Data sourced from AdAge/Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff