Colgate announces next CEO

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / (demaerre)
© Getty Images / (demaerre)
This week, the global consumer brands company (which owns Tom’s of Maine, Irish Spring, Lady Speed Stick, and other personal care brands) announced that Noel Wallace, currently COO at Colgate-Palmolive, will become CEO in April.

Noel Wallace has been with Colgate-Palmolive since 1987 and has accrued significant experience in the Americas region in the interim. His titles with the company include president and general manager of the Global Toothbrush Division and president of Colgate North America; he has worked with corporate divisions in Latin America and the US; and in 2016 took on his current role as chief operating officer of global innovation and growth and Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

“With our innovation and growth strategy generating renewed momentum and a highly energized team of Colgate leaders around the world, I am extremely excited about our future,” ​Wallace says in remarks to the press. “I look forward to working with all Colgate people as we enter a new phase of growth, taking full advantage of our longstanding strengths and developing new ones to seize emerging opportunities.”

Leadership transition

Wallace will officially become CEO on April 2nd. And current CEO Ian Cook will stay on as Chairman for up to a full year, according to a company press release about the leadership change.

“It’s very gratifying to see the board’s succession planning process, which began more than two years ago, come to fruition with the happy result of Noel’s election as President and CEO, and as a member of the Board,” ​Stephen Sadove, lead director of Colgate’s board of directors, says in the release.

And Sadove suggests that Wallace and Cook will continue working together in the company’s best interests in the months ahead: “Noel brings exceptional experience and integrity to the job of leading Colgate, together with a sharp focus on accelerating growth. We’re extremely grateful for Ian’s strong leadership as CEO and we are pleased that he has agreed, at the Board’s request, to provide transition guidance to Noel as Executive Chairman.”

The company’s future

Cook who has been with the company for over 40 years and chairman since 2009 believes that Colgate’s future is in good hands with Wallace. And at this point investors and the market seem to agree. Company stock was up this week as a result of the announcement but, as Teresa Rivas wrote in an item for​, “Investors hoping for a radical new direction for Colgate might be disappointed by Wallace’s selection, given his long tenure with the firm means bold strategic changes are unlikely. Still, he’s largely seen as a safe and respectable choice, and the news didn’t do much to sway any analyst opinion on the stock.”

Cook describes his successor as “a truly outstanding leader who is extremely well-prepared to lead Colgate after a highly successful 32-year career guiding Colgate businesses all around the world,”  ​adding that “over the last decade, his senior leadership roles have demonstrated his expertise in formulating and executing global strategy and in guiding operational performance. He is exactly the right leader to take the reins as Colgate’s CEO now. He and the Company’s next generation of leaders have my complete confidence.”



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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