Anglo-Dutch food and consumer products group Unilever has announced the appointment of John W. Rice as business group president and chief executive officer of Unilever Bestfoods North America, effective 1 November 2002.

In addition, Rice will continue as chief executive officer of Slim-Fast Worldwide, the weight-management and meal-replacement company acquired by Unilever in 2000.

Rice is a Unilever veteran who brings to this new role more than 25 years of global food industry experience. Most recently, he was business group president and chief executive officer of Unilever Bestfoods Latin America and Slim-Fast Worldwide. Before assuming that role, Rice held general management positions in several Unilever subsidiaries, including Lipton based in New Jersey, Unilever Home and Personal Care-USA in Connecticut, Lever Brothers Company in New York, and the Birds Eye Wall's frozen foods and ice cream business in the United Kingdom.

He began his career with the company at Chesebrough-Pond's, as brand manager, having earlier worked in the field of advertising at J. Walter Thompson Company in New York and Chicago.