Breadcrumbs

A career the world over

26 July 2018

Jan Z for web
Jan Zijderveld, BMS grad with an impressive international career.

Jan Zijderveld worked all over the world for Unilever and is now based in London as CEO of Avon. Next month he’ll be in Hamilton to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Waikato.

Mr Zijderveld was born in The Netherlands, went to school in Kerikeri, and graduated from Waikato with a Bachelor of Management Studies.

He started with Unilever in New Zealand as a brand manager, then moved to Australia, The Netherlands for five years, and to Italy where he took over directorship of Unilever’s European Olive Oil category. From there he worked in Stockholm and in Dubai where he became chairman of Unilever’s Middle East and North Africa-based operations. A year later he was in Singapore as Executive Vice-President of Unilever South East Asia.

He was soon appointed President, Europe and part of the leadership executive.

Mr Zijderveld was responsible for Unilever's largest operating business, encompassing 34 countries and 25,000 employees. As president of the company’s largest geographical cluster he re-energised the business and built a more integrated dynamic team, rejuvenating Unilever’s headquarters in Rotterdam and turning it into the largest marketing hub in The Netherlands.

He is credited with stabilising the European business and returning it to growth and improved profitability, following several years of decline.

His success over the years has been attributed to his management style that focused on achieving maximum results, yet remained highly people-oriented.

He says being able to make an impact and a difference in all the places he visits is such a privilege. “I really enjoy the challenge being a leader offers, not just in one culture.”

At Avon, Mr Zijderveld is responsible for driving new long-term growth initiatives, developing earning opportunities for women, and advancing Avon as the world’s premier direct seller of quality beauty products.

Over the years he has maintained his links with the University of Waikato, participating in seminars when visiting New Zealand and hosting university staff in Singapore and Europe.

The University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni Awards are being held on August 24 at Claudelands. Mr Zijderveld will be joined by four other awardees – Dame Annette King, Oxford Professor Tom Higham, Psychologist Dr Sarah Calvert, and QC Miriam Dean CNZM.

Jan Zijderveld will discuss his career journey at a business lunch from 12.30 - 1.30 on Friday 24 August at the Hamilton campus. Please register your interest in attending.


Related stories

Cap

Scholarship support for Waikato alumni returning to study

University of Waikato alumni keen to return for further study have a scholarship designed specifically…

Shaun Kirkham

Hard work and dedication a winning combo for alumnus and Olympian

Fresh from winning an Olympic Gold medal, Shaun Kirkham is using his experience as a…

Competition ignites plans to help Kiwi company achieve global market domination

For the first time in its remarkable 25-year history, the 49th Waikato Management School Case…

parth-patel

International alumnus now “living his dream” thanks to studies at Waikato

Parth Patel grew up in Western India. He spent his high school years following his…

Kris Metcalfe

University alumnus has dream job shaping new Pāpāmoa school

University of Waikato alumnus Kris Metcalfe is part of a team of exceptional educators shaping…

Heather c

Waikato Distinguished Alumnae panel to share knowledge on leadership and governance

An impressive panel of CEOs, directors and a QC will share their thoughts on the…

Kim Pickering

Researchers make building materials from waste saving money and the environment

As housing construction costs skyrocket and building materials are in short supply, University of Waikato…

parekawhia-mclean

From Waikato to Wellington and back again for Distinguished Alumna

Distinguished Alumna Parekawhia McLean's success in the public sector is well-documented, but perhaps lesser-known is…

The call of the Waikato

University of Waikato student Melody Nepe always knew she’d end up working in the health…

Meleane Burgess

Council welcomes Management alumna

The University of Waikato Council has welcomed well-known Waikato leader and independent director, Meleane Burgess,…

Eva Collins

Waikato researchers help launch circular economy initiatives for business

An $11 million University of Waikato-led research project to develop New Zealand’s circular economy has…

andrew-smith

Rhodes Scholar, Distinguished Alumnus and CEO supports students at the University of Waikato

Distinguished alumnus Dr Andrew Smith is funding an annual medal in excellence and kicking off…