An outspoken marketer with firm opinions, unwavering instincts and an impressive track record of business growth, Peter Elwood started his career as an Assistant Brand Manager at S.C. Johnson Wax, armed with an MBA from Univerity of Western Ontario and a previous Chemical Engineering degree from Queen’s University.
After a disagreement with his superiors on a point of ethics, he left S.C. Johnson Wax to join Lever Brothers, where he began working on “canned meats, beef stew, meatballs and gravy – a commodity if there ever was one,” he says. However, his marketing savvy soon propelled him up the corporate ladder, leading to positions as VP of marketing at Lipton and Lever Brothers and ultimately to the role of President of Lever Brothers (1993-96) and President of Lipton (1996-2000). At one point, he gained valuable international experience through a posting at Unilever in the UK. He took early retirement in 2000 when he was passed over for the role of president of the new entity, Unilever Canada, formed by the joining of Lever Brothers and Lipton.
Elwood has been active in a host of marketing-related initiatives, including the Canadian Congress of Advertising, and Advertising Standards Canada. His expertise was an important contributor to the success of the Cassie Awards, of which he is a former judging chair. In fact, in 2006, the Cassies named a special award after him and (2007 MHOL Mentor inductee) Rupert Brendon: the Brendon-Elwood Award for Best Performance for leading advertisers and agencies, based on the advertiser’s cumulative track-record across all ten Cassies events held up to that point.
Elwood has received several Cassie himself: a Sustained Success award for Dove (1997), the Grand Prix award for Sunlight (1999), a Sustained Success award for Becel (1999), and a Gold award for the Packaged Goods category for Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup (2001). In 1995, Elwood was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal from the Association of Canadian Advertisers in recognition of his numerous achievements in the marketing industry.
Perhaps the greatest kudos he has received is that top marketers clamoured to work with him on his businesses. Since his retirement, he has actively pursued has passion for golf in hopes of regaining his 6 or 7 stroke handicap.