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R&D Cluster Design Director - Skin Care China

Job ID:
Shanghai, Shanghai Municipality
Date posted:

Purpose & Context:

  • We are dramatically growing our high end Skincare business in China. Our pioneering and hugely attractive brands like AHC from Korea, Tunemakers, Rafra from Japan and many others are rich spaces for a talented innovator to imaginatively drive growth in multiple ways.
  • The role also covers a firm foundation set of much loved core brands that can also power growth including Dove, Vaseline and Ponds.
  • Our committed ambition is therefore to double the Skin Care Business in China by 2024.
  • We need a dynamic Director to lead the achievement of these ambitious goals, being the overall leader of the entire talented Skin Care Cluster R&D Team in China.
  • The role reports directly to Dr. Jason Harcup, worldwide VP R&D for Skin Care, Prestige Division and New Business Creation Unit who will provide the role-winner with multiple opportunities for personal development as a Beauty Industry leader.
  • The role directly partners the local market business (the Category Country Business Team (CCBT)) leader for Skin Care.
  • The primary task for the incumbent will be to deliver a highly challenging agenda of ensuring we achieve the China growth plan with a disruptive change in shaping future-fit, on-trend, competitive skin care portfolio & mixes and building capability on digital, data. Build innovation ecosystem across China/North Asia and build partnership to support China growth agenda, especially ecommerce growth.  

Deliverables of work:

Technical Capability Development

  • Drive R&D 2021+ key thrusts and 5 Growth Fundamentals strategy and ensure synergy with business vision for China
  • Drive Cluster design concept and work seamlessly with CCBT, SC teams and global partners to deliver business vision for China
  • Work with AHC/Rafra business partners in Korea, Japan and China to drive innovations and activities for China. Integrate and build R&D strength in acquired business.
  • Leverage big data to lead in skin care market trends and explore new consumer & technical insights.
  • Leverage blockbuster new technologies and develop superior & competitive products with strong pipeline and innovating on-trend formats for China
  • Support new model of marketing with digital & content. Design for ecommerce and other specific China channels
  • Design for ecommerce and other specific China channels
  • Build future-fit scaling up capacity and capability for speed and agility.
  • Drive local 5S and Sustainability targets for China Skin Care in line with global plans
  • Support and proactively identify areas for regulatory compliance and wins. Coordinate with Global/Category/Cluster support functions for Regulatory Affairs, Clinicals, Analytical & Micro
  • Manage interdependencies, risks and trade-offs across functions/stakeholders.
  • Drive category Skin Care R&D to key decisions points


  • Leading and managing a complex and challenging business environment for the cluster as well as a transformational agenda for Masstige/Prestige
  • Delivering on a highly challenging agenda for a China growth strategy with a disruptive change for multiple core brands, acquired brands and new brands
  • Building and retaining key talents in a China Cluster design role

Talent Catalyst & Passion for High Performance:

  • Develop and magnify the power of people & potential and build team & talent
  • Inspire the energy needed to win and grow as per clusters / function’s vision
  • Drive People with Purpose agenda across R&D community
  • Coach / mentor key R&D team members and work closely with the other R&D Directors to build and retain key talent, including clear succession plans for all WL2 in China
  • Drive FLEX experiences and variable resource model for the cluster / country

Business Acumen & Consumer Love:

  • Country Category Business Team representative across Skin Care plus AHC and other new skin care brands.
  • Generate value in channels and customers through local activities, product / pack / SKU mixes
  • Create better future for consumers everyday

Required Skill Sets:

Key Experience

  • Category & Cluster Design (Deploy) or broader BPC experience  
  • Cross Category / Cross functional experiences and exposure to various functions desirable especially Masstige/Prestige
  • Actual CCBT experience is strongly preferred
  • Evidence for programme and portfolio management with an appropriate balance of capability / programme effort and delivering with impact
  • Clear evidence of leading and driving R&D’s contribution to China’s growth agenda
  • Evidence for managing and developing diverse and sizable teams

Key Skills:

  • Leadership of the Future – with a style appropriate to a networked and agile organisation
  • Strategic thinking & influencing (building “big relationships”)
  • Beauty Culture Mindset –critical must-have skill
  • Cross Category (BPC) Technology development expertise
  • Chemistry or Chemical Engineering background is essential with working knowledge of Processing understanding and expertise
  • Communication, mentoring and training skills
  • Open Innovation and Partnerships

Unilever is an organisation committed to equity, inclusion and diversity to drive our business results and create a better future, every day, for our diverse employees, global consumers, partners, and communities. We believe a diverse workforce allows us to match our growth ambitions and drive inclusion across the business. At Unilever we are interested in every individual bringing their ‘Whole Self’ to work and this includes you! Thus if you require any support or access requirements, we encourage you to advise us at the time of your application so that we can support you through your recruitment journey.

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