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We are working with Colgate-Palmolive in their search for a Global eCommerce Leader – Global Customer Development based in New York City.

Colgate-Palmolive was founded in 1806 and today markets its products in over 200 countries and territories. Colgate-Palmolive is a $15 billion global company serving 6 billion people around the world. With household name brands as Murphy® Oil Soap, Colgate®, Palmolive®, Softsoap®, Mennen®, and Ajax®, the firm serves its worldwide clientele with products in four major categories: oral care, personal care, home care, and pet nutrition. These are some really sharp folks, folks. And they’re hardcore humanitarians and internationalists, too.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: This is going to be a fantastic career opportunity for a credible, seasoned, and strategically literate ecommerce executive whose job will be to determine how Colgate-Palmolive’s portfolio of brands will pursue ecommerce around the world. Talk about a professional challenge! It’s endless! You could spend the rest of your career in this role.

My previous job posts have discussed the 5 forces that will drive commerce in the years ahead: Mobile, Social, Local, Global, and Cloud. This job will revolve around your mastery of each of those things. The sheer size and scope of this role is epic. In the United States alone, the size of the personal care products market is approximately $250 billion, and pet food alone is $47 billion. And those are only two of CP’s markets.

Traditionally, Colgate-Palmolive has gone to market through its valued channel partners, including Target, Walmart, Carrefour, Tesco, Amazon, Walgreens, PetSmart, and other world-class retailers. This role is about leveraging those retail relationships while stimulating the demand for Colgate-Palmolive’s products. Indeed, the job may involve going to events like this and meeting with people like this to see how they think Colgate-Palmolive should leverage ecommerce in ways that are pie-enlarging (versus pie-rearranging).

This position is brand-new.

Colgate-Palmolive already has a well-established digital marketing organization that is focused on bringing the company’s brands to life in the online world. Yet online branding and ecommerce are very different things.

Colgate-Palmolive created this position knowing that it would not be able to build an ecommerce competency unless it had a strong, knowledgeable, urbane leader in this role. CP is determined to better understand how it can play in ecommerce, and it believes that given the time sensitivity and the criticality of this issue – it’s better to go outside for this leadership.

Meaning: Colgate-Palmolive is depending on you to develop its global ecommerce strategy.

It’s not enough that you have a track record of success in ecommerce. This role requires that you know quite a bit about online and off-line retail strategy and strategic planning. You can’t just wing it: An Amazon search for books on “strategic planning” yields 18,571 results, and the number of legitimate approaches to strategic planning can be equally dizzying.

If you can’t make sense of the relevant approaches, then you won’t know what information to gather from CP’s internal and external ecommerce stakeholders. And if you can’t do that, then generating buy-in and taking action on your plan will be hopeless. #FAIL

Again, Colgate-Palmolive manages hundreds of brands in more than 200 markets around the world. Your action-oriented plans will …

  • Be indispensable to top management in discharging its responsibilities.
  • Force managers to ask and answer questions that are of the highest importance to the company’s ecommerce initiatives.
  • Clarify the opportunities and threats that lie ahead.
  • Evaluate the company’s ecommerce business as a system, thereby preventing suboptimization of the parts at the expense of the whole organization.
  • Provide frameworks for ecommerce decision-making throughout the company.
  • Provide opportunities for Colgate-Palmolive’s rising stars to contribute their talents to the company’s decision-making process, giving them a sense of participation in satisfaction.
  • Disseminate knowledge of consumer shopping behaviors and understand what drives the demand for consumer products in the online world.

Basically, this is a really important job. And frankly, in my 8 years of ecommerce recruitment, I’ve only met a handful of people who could pull this off. Certainly, you will need to know ecommerce ice cold, front and back, inside out. And you will need an outstanding track record of ecommerce success in your prior roles in order to hit the ground running with maximum credibility.

Moreover, you will need to be politically savvy without being a political animal. Colgate-Palmolive is a very team oriented company. Even if you don’t have the resources, people will still help you. You can count on support from your peers, assuming they understand clearly What it is you are trying to accomplish; Why it will be good for the company; and How your plans will impact them personally.

It’s all good. Everyone at Colgate-Palmolive is already bought into ecommerce. They want to support it. You’ll simply need to get specific people to take action.

One final thing: CP is an extremely financially oriented company, and it has a long tradition of investing in things as they develop and show promise. You will not have an unlimited supply of money to accomplish your goals, but you can count on fantastic financial support if you can chalk up some quick wins and build momentum quickly.

I have pulled several hundred dollars worth of market research and competitive intel on this search, and I’d strongly suggest that candidates comb through it before interviewing. It’s yours for the asking, and it will improve dramatically your chances of getting this job.


Reporting to the President, Global Customer Development, this role’s mission is to develop a global eCommerce strategy and build plans and tools to drive CP sales in existing and new retail sites.

Main responsibilities include:

  • Build knowledge of shopping behavior and drivers of the purchases of CP categories in the on-line retail environment
  • Develop a global eCommerce strategy
  • Define Retail Category Development services for the on-line customers
  • Develop tools and gather best practices to deploy the strategy
  • Build competencies across the world

Required skills:

  • Commercial experience – understands the retailers’ e-commerce business and the drivers of purchase in the e-commerce retail environment
  • Relationship building – is able to build connections and establish relationship internally and externally
  • Digital passion – his/her interest in this space transcends their day job; keeps abreast of trends

Interfaces with:

  • Insight
  • Digital Marketing
  • Marketing / Shopper Marketing
  • Customer Teams (including partnering with a retailer)
  • IT

Key Responsibilities

  • Build knowledge of shopping behavior and drivers of the purchases of CP categories in the on-line retail environment
  • Leverage existing studies and identify knowledge gaps to be filled to understand shopping behavior on line (focusing on Colgate-Palmolive categories)
  • Develop profound knowledge of retailers’ eCommerce business, for both pure play and multi-channel retailers
  • Consolidate and document insights and share with the Division/Subsidiaries
  • Develop a global eCommerce strategy
  • Recommend where Colgate-Palmolive should focus its eCommerce efforts (retail models)
  • Prioritize the opportunity spaces
  • Develop guidelines for Colgate-Palmolive to win in this Retail Environtment, including go-to-market, portfolio, site content and purchase drivers dynamics (list management, switching mechanism, product recommendations and ratings etc.), pricing, POP, Promotion. Differentiate guidelines between pure play and multi-channel retailers where appropriate.
  • Develop internal and external communication of the strategy
  • Define Retail Category Development services for the on-line customers
  • Partner with a retailer to identify what are the relevant category services and how CP should structure the RCD services
  • Develop a bundle with recommendation of how to manage CP categories on line: Category structure, category role by site type, how to conduct an environmental scan, typical category challenges in the on-line RE, suggested category strategies and solutions.

Develop tools and gather best practices to deploy the strategy, including:

  • Work with Digital team and develop Content (pictures, videos, messages, educational content etc) to support the subsidiaries in deploying the eCommerce strategy
  • Work with Global Information Technology to identify platforms / solutions to exchange content
  • Develop case studies / best practices to share globally
  • Build eCommerce competencies across CP world
  • Build an eCommerce network to share learning
  • Develop case studies / best practices to share globally
  • Support local eCommerce teams

Ideal Candidate Background

  • Bachelor’s Degree (MBA Preferred)
  • 12-15 Years of overall experience
  • Deep experience in eCommerce b2b and/or b2c required
  • Preferred commercial experience in eCommerce either working at retailers (i.e. Amazon, or Consumer Packaged Goods manufacturers such as P&G and Unilever
  • Would potentially consider experience from mature industries such as electronics and entertainment

Applications for this position are being coordinated by Harry Joiner. To apply, CLICK HERECandidates, please be sure to email Harry Joiner for a packet of market research and company / competitive intel that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the intensely competitive nature of this search, thorough preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.

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