Project Description


Geoff McDonald

Through my 25 years at Unilever before my departure in 2014, I had a wonderful HR career in Unilever spanning numerous functions, business groups and regions, namely marketing, communications, sustainability, talent management, leadership development. This work took me across Africa, the Middle-East and Turkey, Australasia and Asia, Europe and the Americas.

My experience has helped me build capabilities in, organisational change, capability development with particular reference to marketing, and business transformation with purpose at its core.  Today, I aspire to inspire and provoke organisations to put purpose and wellbeing at the centre of everything they do, and address the taboo associated with wellbeing (particularly mental health) within their organisations

I am a Co-Founder of a network called ‘Minds@Work’, which has grown from 14 members to over 1400 in three years.  Its purpose being to stimulate and equip individuals to break the stigma of mental ill health in the organizations they work in. As an associate to byrne•dean , I consult on how to address the stigma linked to depression and anxiety in the workplace, with a particular emphasis on raising awareness of these issues and providing some practical strategies as to how one might go about addressing this growing modern illness.

Summary CV

  • Bsc Honours Degree, HDE, Universities of Natal and Cape Town
Career History
  • 1987-1989: Math and Biology GCSE and A level teacher at Glenwood High School, Durban
  • 1989-1992: Graduate Recruitment and Development Manager Unilever South Africa
  • 1992-1995: HR Operations and Training Manager, Unifoods
  • 1995-1998: HR Factory Manager – Lever Brothers, Maydon Wharf
  • 1998-2005: Human Resources Development Manager Africa, Middle East and Turkey
  • 2003-2005: Vice President Human Resources – Unilever Australasia
  • 2005-2007: Global Vice President Leadership and Talent
  • 2008-2011: Global Vice President Human Resources Unilever – Home and Personal Care Categories
  • 2001-2016: Global Vice President Human Resources Unilever – Marketing, Communications, Sustainability and Water
  • 2014-present: involved in a variety of projects including:
    • Senior Advisor to Global PFR Firm Buson Marsteller on Purposeful Business and Organisation Change
    • Faculty member of the Forward Institute, initiated post the financial crisis and in partnership with Bath University aimed at teaching a more responsible form of leadership to leaders in the financial and professional services sectors
    • Global Advocate, Campaigner and International speaker on subjects such as Mental Health; Leadership for a new normal; Purposeful business at Corporate leadership events
    • Trustee of Family Links
    • Co-Founder of Minds At Work
    • Snr Advisor to Global Mental Health Campaign
    • Director Geoff McDonald Consulting to Mental Health at Work
  • 2017: joined byrne·dean