Visiting Executive Fellow. VP Communications, Transformation, Unilever plc
Stephen has worked with many multi-national organisations undergoing significant growth and transformation during a career spanning nearly 40 years.
His expertise in corporate communication has enabled him to occupy a pivotal strategic role in engaging internal and external audiences, pioneering thought-leading ideas and being a trusted adviser to boards and senior leadership.
He has worked at Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer-goods companies, for 10 years and has held a number of senior global communications roles. He established a research-led, data-driven global communication strategy to support the implementation of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan and has championed numerous break-through cross-functional, integrated communications programmes. His current focus is on embedding the Unilever Compass strategy across the business among all internal audiences to ensure that Unilever is ‘purpose-led, future-fit’. He is Business Partner to the Chief HR Officer and a member of the HR Leadership Team.
Stephen’s hallmark is joining the dots by providing a coherent context for change, cutting through traditional hierarchies, dealing with complexity and eliminating silos through a sharp sense of purpose and vision. He describes his own Purpose as ‘being with others to grow something good’ and he has extensive experience in helping organisations leverage communications to become faster, simpler and have more impact through increased agility, flexibility and a better balance across stakeholder groups.
Prior to joining Unilever, Stephen was the Principal of Age of Good ®, a specialist strategic communications consultancy and continues to promote the concept of good business is better business. He was formerly Group Corporate Affairs Director of Aviva plc, one of the world’s largest savings, investments and insurance groups. He led the communications team during the merger and integration of CGU and Norwich Union in 2000 and then, in 2002, launched the Aviva brand. Subsequently, he was the architect of the group’s transformation from 40 brands to one global brand, Aviva.
Before Aviva, he was Corporate Affairs Director at retail group, Storehouse plc, and, before that, at Severn Trent Plc, the water and waste services company.
He is a Visiting Executive Fellow at Henley Business School where he contributes regularly to MBA progammes. His work with Professor Kevin Money, Director, John Madejski Centre for Reputation, Henley Business School, has been applied to the development of a number of communication programmes and published in the following articles :
- Better Balance: a psychological approach to the problem of sustainability
- Extending the Better Balance model: how psychology could help to solve the problem of sustainability.
Stephen also sits on the Advisory Board of Criticaleye and advises organisations on strategic communications issues, particularly in relation to transformational change.