Thursday's announcement came a day after the company stated its intent to focus on growth through product development, innovation, brand building and other marketing capabilities by restructuring and eliminating 350 human resource, IT and administrative jobs.
Palmer most recently was managing director U.K. for Kellogg. Previously, he served as president of Kellogg's natural, frozen and warehouse club businesses. Palmer spent four years in marketing and general-management positions with the Minute Maid division of Coca-Cola USA, and later as regional director for Coca-Cola in Australia. He also served as a marketing manager with CSR Refined Sugars and Mars Confectionary Australia.
"Tony will lead the development of world-class strategic marketing capabilities at K-C by ensuring customer, shopper, chooser and user insights drive all aspects of our business," said Kimberly-Clark CEO Thomas Falk, in the official announcement of Palmer's appointment. A "marketing center of excellence" will report to Palmer, who will partner with the leaders of K-C's consumer, health care, and professional businesses to ensure they are backed by "compelling, high-return marketing programs."
This week's announcements come as K-C, whose Huggies long dominated the diaper category, continues to lose share to Procter & Gamble's Pampers brand. Both K-C and P&G are introducing diaper innovations this year. The Huggies Supreme line includes a new cottony Gentle Care line with better umbilical cord cutouts for newborns and Natural Fit diapers for toddlers. P&G plans to roll out a more flexible "Caterpillar Flex" diaper for its Pampers Baby Dry line.
P&G has a widely respected CMO in Jim Stengel, who was one of the first in the category to experiment with online product launches, in-home market research and buzz-marketing campaigns. Under Stengel's watch, P&G introduced Pampers training pants, thereby extending the lifespan of the P&G brand.
In the baby care market, just last year, K-C rang up $965 million in Huggies diapers and training pants sales for the full year 2005, per Information Resources; P&G's Pampers sales were $763 million. More recent data shows that Huggies' lead over Pampers is shrinking, with K-C having a 43 percent share of the category versus P&G's 42 percent share for the four weeks ended July 16, per IRI.