On 13 March, the Board of AIM, the European Brands Association, unanimously voted Poul Weihrauch, Global President of Mars Petcare, as the Association’s new President. He takes over from Laurent Freixe, Executive Vice-President of Nestlé. Mr. Weihrauch will hold office for two years. At the same time, Jan Zijderveld, President Europe, Unilever has been elected Vice-President. He will serve alongside the existing Vice-President, Christian Köhler, Director-General of the German Brands Association Markenverband.
In his acceptance speech, Poul Weihrauch said: “I am delighted to become President of AIM. I love brands! Brands drive growth and value. In 2013 EU consumers purchased food, drink, home and personal care brands for €653 bn. Since 2003 this figure has gone up by more than €103 bn, showing the substantial contribution of the sector to European growth and value-added employment. Laurent Freixe is a great leader and it’s an exciting time to take over him, with AIM launching two new initiatives, one on “Skills for the Future”, in partnership with the European Youth Forum to promote the employability of young people, and the second, AIM-Nudge, on ways brands can nudge consumers to adopt healthier and more sustainable behaviours. I am a strong supporter of these and other AIM programmes on responsible sourcing, better informed consumers and fair trading practices. We must continue to lead by example to make a difference in addressing the societal challenges Europe is facing.”
Jan Zijderveld added: “the trust painstakingly acquired by our brands over many years, together with the know-how, innovation and engagement to sustainable and inclusive growth of our member companies, are important assets for Europe. The new European Commission should empower brands to unlock their full potential in the European market”.