Managing change in business is never easy, whether you’re a CEO, director or middle manager. So where do you start when you’ve been in the role a matter of months, your business was formed just a year ago and combines some of the best-loved brands in the UK, Turkey and America? This is the challenge facing Erica Coletta, CHRO at confectionery manufacturer pladis, which merged brands such as McVitie’s, Godiva Chocolatiers and Ulker under the ownership of Turkish giant Yildiz Holding in January 2016.
In place since September, and with responsibility for overseeing the integration of 26,000 employees and creating a global culture that takes account of local sensibilities, Coletta is navigating her way through the challenge.
“It’s been exciting and four months feel like nine,” she says. “It’s rare to have an opportunity to bring all my experiences together in a way that’s going to have real impact, although my family complain about how little they see me.”
The HR function is a passion for Coletta. Her early career was in law, then sales, before she made an active choice to move into HR in 2001 as a policy and diversity manager at Shell. She held roles at the BOC Group, Unilever and Godiva Chocolatiers before pladis CEO Cem Karakas head-hunted her for the CHRO role, with a mandate to drive transformation strategy.