ekaterra leadership to set standards for tea sustainability

By Becci Knowles
Leading the category’s sustainable development, global tea business ekaterra has appointed Nathalie Roos as CEO and Pierre Laubies as Chair of the Board

Global tea business ekaterra has appointed Nathalie Roos as Chief Executive Officer and Pierre Laubies as Chair of the Board following its 1 July divestment from Unilever

The change in leadership follows Unilever’s sale of ekaterra to CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII for a reported €4.5 billion.

Ekaterra has a portfolio of more than 30 brands, including Lipton, PG Tips, Pukka, T2 and Tazo, and generates annual revenue of approximately €2 billion. The popularity of tea continues to grow, as health-conscious consumers seek out new products and drive interest in alternative and fruit teas. Amongst its younger brands, Pukka and T2 lead the industry as B-Corp certified companies.

The perimeters of the sale exclude Unilever’s tea business in India, Nepal and Indonesia as well as Unilever’s interests in the Pepsi Lipton ready-to-drink tea joint ventures and associated distribution businesses.

ekaterra appointments mark new phase of sustainable development

The appointment of Roos and Laubies marks the beginning of an exciting new phase of ekaterra’s development as an independent business. 

Roos said: “Tea holds an extraordinary role in societies around the world, steeped in tradition, culture and community spirit. It also has an incredible power to evolve and always be relevant to the times. ekaterra’s future will embody these elements too, alongside ambitious plans to become a leader in sustainable tea production, in farming and distribution methods, and also as a supporter of the communities in which we operate. Tea is an exciting growth category. As consumers seek out the health benefits of antioxidant-rich teas, they are also passionate about supporting businesses that are committed to improving the natural environment and supporting their employees.” 

Outgoing CEO John Davison said: “I am proud of the ekaterra team who have achieved several milestones carving out the business from Unilever and establishing it as an independent company. I am confident ekaterra will flourish and wish Nathalie and the team every success in accelerating ekaterra’s momentum to grow a world of wellbeing in the tea category.”

Laubies added, “I am delighted that Nathalie has accepted the opportunity to become CEO of ekaterra. She has precisely the right blend of skills for the role, with her strong commercial background, her ability to develop great teams and a passion for building consumer brands and delivering growth. Working alongside Nathalie, we have the opportunity to grow our world-leading tea business committed to reaching the highest sustainability goals.”

About Nathalie Roos

Roos was previously head of L’Oréal’s Professional Products division and prior to that CEO of Germany for the Group. She held senior roles at Mars for nearly 20 years. She is also currently a non-executive director of Pret-a-Manger and Bel Group, the French healthy dairy and fruit snack manufacturer.

About Pierre Laubies

As Chair of the Board, Pierre Laubies brings 30 years of leadership experience at Mars, Campbell Soup Company, and more recently as CEO of Jacobs Douwe Egberts and Coty. He continues to advise as a Member of the Board at Philips Domestic Appliances and Groupe Panzani.

About ekaterra

ekaterra claims to be the biggest tea business globally, with purpose-driven brands including Lipton, PG tips, Pukka, T2 and TAZO. With 11 production factories in four continents and tea estates in three countries, ekaterra is “growing a world of wellbeing through the regenerative power of plants”.  

About CVC

Established in 1981, CVC is a leader in private equity and credit with €125 billion of assets under management, €155 billion of funds committed and a global network of 25 local offices: 16 across EMEA and the Americas and nine in the Asia Pacific region. CVC is majority-owned by its employees and led by its Managing Partners.

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