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Miguel Veiga-Pestana was focused on corporate sustainability and purpose long before they became communications industry buzzwords: 30 years ago, his role as government relations director at UK environmental services firm Waste Management included a secondment to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in Geneva to develop its firm communications plan.
For the past five years, Veiga-Pestana has led corporate affairs and sustainability at British multinational consumer goods firm Reckitt, whose health, hygiene and home products brands include Dettol, Disprin, Strepsils, Veet, Gaviscon, Air Wick, Calgon, Clearasil, Cillit Bang, Durex and Vanish. Sitting on the group exco, he is responsible for all aspects of strategic communications, brand and reputation management, as well as the development and integration of Reckitt’s sustainability and purpose-led agenda.
Before joining Reckitt in 2017, Veiga-Pestana was chief communications officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle. He had previously spent 13 years in senior roles at Unilever, including as vice president for global sustainability strategy and advocacy. While at Unilever, he developed a communications strategy for the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, oversaw the team that established the Unilever Foundation in 2011 with Save the Children, World Food Programme, UNICEF, Population Services International and Oxfam as partners, led Unilever’s initiative to promote human and labour rights integration, represented Unilever externally on social impact, and supported CEO Paul Polman on dialogues around the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
Too many to mention.
What have you most admired about this industry over the past year?
Ability to adapt and support companies through toughest of times.
How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?Took a sabbatical. Discovered meditation and pilates.
Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?
BBC Sounds Podcasts - listened to podcasts of Desert Island Discs. Read way too many books to list.
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
Chief sustainability officer – a critical part of my role. Otherwise a coach and executive leadership trainer.
Sum up 2022 in one word.
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