Sanitary paper product giant appoints youngest, first female MD

Belinda Driscoll. Image credit: Ross Caddaye/Kimberly-Clark ANZ.

Kimberly-Clark – the parent company behind Huggies, Kleenex, Viva, U By Kotex, Poise and Depend – has appointed Belinda Driscoll as managing director for Australia and New Zealand. She is the youngest and first female managing director for the company in ANZ in almost 100 years. 

Driscoll joined Kimberly-Clark as a senior marketing director in 2020. Under her leadership, the business has continued to perform strongly with a retail sales value increase of 13 per cent in the last two years. This was driven by strong market share results across its Huggies and U by Kotex brands (59 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively) and its Kleenex Mill in South Australia now producing a record 1.2 million toilet rolls every day. 

In the last 12 months, Kimberly-Clark ANZ has also launched several popular, more sustainable innovations including Australia’s first Australian made 100 per cent bamboo toilet paper, Kleenex Eco; 100 per cent bamboo paper towel, Viva Eco, Huggies 100 per cent biodegradable baby wipes; U by Kotex Thinx reusable period underwear; and the first reusable Huggies swimmer pants. 

“Whilst we’ve had our fair share of supply challenges over the last couple of years, our business is in a strong position with some of the best market share results we’ve seen in close to a decade,” Kimberly-Clark ANZ vice president and managing director Belinda Driscoll said. 

“In order to continue this growth, we also remain firmly focused on the wellbeing of our people, our communities and the planet. We have a team of very passionate people working hard to reduce our environmental impact every single day, not only because it is crucial to strengthening our portfolio of brands, it’s high on the list of employee expectations too.” 

Driscoll said the company’s focus on building local talent and capability, diversity and inclusion, and commitment to communities and reconciliation are important to her. 

“I believe they are key to building a more positive work culture and greater engagement, because they are areas that our people really care about; they provide a strong sense of purpose,” she said. 

Driscoll’s promotion is one of several new appointments within the organisation, including a 44 per cent increase in female representation within their leadership team (from 1/9 female leaders in 2019 to 5/9), and she is committed to developing further opportunities for everyone. 

“Our growing team is a reflection of the exceptional talent we have in the ANZ business. We have a number of capability programs running through, and an extensive training ground for our people,” Driscoll said. 

“In the last year we’ve seen several local and international promotions which is a reflection of the importance of career progression at K-CANZ.”  

With extensive experience within the consumer product sector, prior to Kimberly-Clark, Driscoll spent 17 years at Johnson & Johnson where she served in several international and local leadership roles across Asia, Europe, the US and Australia. In her most recent role, she led the largest business unit within J&J Medical, as Sales and Marketing lead for Sutures. 

Driscoll is based in Sydney and officially started her new role in late 2021, transitioning responsibility from Doug Cunningham who was promoted to president of the Europe, Middle East and Africa businesses.