Mengniu Dairy Company China
Inner Mongolia is a very long way from Denmark, but Jesper Fournaise Colding doesn’t mind. True to his Viking roots, he’s an adventurer and an internationalist at heart who has lived and worked in eight countries over the past two decades, including a 13-year career with Procter & Gamble in the Nordic region as well as in Southeast Asia. Even his education was multinational with an undergraduate degree in Macro Economics and a Masters in International Marketing from Southern Denmark University and the University of Denver in the United States.
Other stops along the way have included a role as General Manager of Danish Brewery Royal Unibrew in the Baltics—a region where the company has a strong presence, and SVP of Global Categories and Operations at Arla Foods, the Swedish-Danish cooperative that is not only Scandinavia’s largest producer of dairy products, but also the 7th largest diary company in the world as measured by turnover.
His role at Arla paved the way to join Inner Mongolia Mengniu, a subsidiary of China Mengniu Dairy Company Limited established in 1999 and headquartered in the provincial capital of Hohhot, where he is responsible for managing the marketing division. His arrival coincides with Mengniu’s desire to both improve product safety and rebuild consumer trust in the aftermath of well-known tainted food scares in China.
Several acquisitions and partnerships are working to insure that the company has greater control over the source of its milk supply, as well as access to better food safety technology. It acquired a major stake in Yashili, a Chinese infant formula maker that sources largely from New Zealand. Mengniu now also enjoys joint ventures with France’s Danone, as well as with Arla Foods. These partnerships provide the Chinese company with technology in exchange for distribution for the Europeans.
From a marketing standpoint, the company is working to communicate more directly with customers with a tagline of “A little happiness matters,” while also organizing its many brands into clearly-defined groups.
Interestingly, in a recent address to shareholders by Ms. Sun Yiping, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of China Mengniu Dairy Company Ltd., Jesper Colding was cited by the CEO. After explaining why his experience is valuable to Mengniu, she also made reference to his height in comparison to his Chinese colleagues. Ms. Sun added, “He shows us that drinking milk since young can help you grow tall.”