Kimberly-Clark Names Coca-Cola Vet Robert Long Its 1st Chief R&D Officer

Lisa Johnston
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Robert Long

Robert Long will join Kimberly-Clark as chief research and development officer, a new role for the company.

Effective March 15, Long will lead the No. 33 consumer goods company’s research, development, innovation and quality functions on a global scale. He’ll report to chairman and CEO Mike Hsu and will serve on the executive leadership team.

Most recently chief innovation officer at The Coca-Cola Company, Long was with the beverage company for 17 years in a range of senior leadership roles.

He also spent 25 years leading R&D at Procter & Gamble for its feminine care, detergents, cosmetics and coffee businesses in several markets.

Hsu cited this deep experience in his expectations of Long’s ability to accelerate Kimberly-Clark’s growth by elevating its brands and expand markets. “I am confident he will drive new levels of scale, value and overall organizational excellence while further raising our high expectations for product quality and performance," Hsu said.

Kimberly-Clark, which includes such brands as Cottonelle, Scott, Kleenex, Kotex and Huggies in its portfolio, grew organic sales 6% in 2020, spurred by elevated consumer demand during the pandemic. Fourth-quarter sales in the consumer tissue segment jumped 14% in the fourth quarater, reaching $1.7 billion, thanks to COVID-19 outbreaks and the work-from-home environment.

The company brought on another P&G vet, Gustavo Ghory, as its senior VP and chief supply chain officer last fall.

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