PARMA, ITALY — Claudio Colzani, a 28-year-veteran of Unilever P.L.C., has been named chief executive officer of the Barilla Group, effective Oct. 1. He succeeds Massimo Potenza, who left in November 2011 after a disagreement over the pasta maker’s direction. Mr. Colzani began his career at Unilever Italy in 1984 as a sales trainee for personal care products. By 1995 he was head of sales and marketing for personal care in Italy. In 2002 he was named chairman of Unilever Bestfoods in Brazil, and in 2005 became c.e.o. of Unilever’s French unit. He was named chairman of Unilever France in 2006, and since 2010 has been chief customer officer.

“We’re delighted to have Mr. Colzani on board,” said Guido Barilla, chairman of Barilla. “His broad international experience and thorough understanding of consumers, coupled with his deep knowledge of products and markets, will add great value to the company.

“We’re certain that Mr. Colzani will be able to successfully implement our strategy, which is to focus on continued growth of our pasta, sauces and ready meals businesses worldwide — from the Americas to the Far East — and to strengthen our bakery business in Italy and other key European branded markets.”