Unsworth's appointment comes as the multinational consolidates its international tea, coffee and bottled water brands, under a single management team within which Unsworth, who keeps his existing title, will represent the £134m Tetley operation.
He will balance the new position with his leading role at Tetley and will be tasked with concentrating on innovation across the entire Tata portfolio, which includes Eight O'Clock Coffee - the third-largest coffee brand in the US - and Polish tea brand Vitax. "We want to appeal to consumers who want hydration with flavour, who want to be good to themselves without a cost to the planet and who will smile at their choice of a Tata Tea group brand," said Unsworth. "We want our business partners to share our aspirations, to help us create and deliver new flavours and concepts to consumers. We want our investors to continue with us on the journey from a regional commodity focused business to a focused, global branded beverage business."
Despite the worldwide economic slump, Unsworth claimed the long-term growth prospects for Tata's core markets were looking positive and hailed the resilience of tea in the recession.
However, he revealed his intention to broaden the scope of Tata's portfolio and focus product innovation on consumer driven trends such as better for you drinks.
The 50-year old Lancastrian joined the Tetley Group as finance director in 1996, after starting his career as a management trainee at the National Coal Board in 1978. He became MD of Tetley's supply operation in 2002 - two years after it was bought for £271m by India's Tata Group. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2007, and then CEO in March last year.