Unilever reshuffle aims to support growth plans

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Personal care Vice president Management

The anglo-dutch consumer products giant has announced a number of changes to its managerial structure in order to support its growth plans, particularly in the emerging markets.

According to Unilever the new structure allows for a more efficient roll-out of increasingly bigger and more scalable innovations, and the optimisation of resources behind strategic priorities.

“Unilever now has over half its turnover in the emerging markets, where, over the last 10 years, growth has been close to double digits. We have an opportunity to better support this footprint of the business, to keep our strong momentum, with a more globally aligned country and category organisation.”​ said Unilever CEO Paul Polman.

As part of these changes Harish Manwani, currently president, Asia Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, will be appointed as Chief Operating Officer, taking responsibility for all markets, in order to drive speed-to-market behind further simplification and efficiency, from September.

Manwani has had several roles in the company over the years, most notably in the Personal Care and Hair Care units.

"Over the past few years we have seen a significant step-up in our innovation success rate and our speed to roll them out across markets. The new structure will further accelerate this,"​ added Polman, who will have the Category organisation, which will be broadened to four categories, reporting directly him.

It's all change

Another change affecting the Personal Care business is Dave Lewis, currently president , Americas, being appointed as president, Personal Care consisting of Skin, Deodorants, Oral and Hair.

Lewis was involved in the UK launching of the Dove brand back in 1992 and his appointment means Antoine de Saint Affrique, currently executive vice president Skin, will be moved to the food division.

The new structures will be put in place during the third quarter and will be fully operational before year-end, accoring to Unilever.
It isn't all new hires and appointments however, as Michael B. Polk, currently president, Global Foods, Home and Personal Care and member of the Unilever Executive board has announced his intention to leave the company after eight years.

Polman said said of Polk: “Mike is a great leader and has had a very successful career with Unilever since joining from Kraft eight years ago. In his current role, he has made a major contribution in sharpening our portfolio strategy and developing bigger and better innovations. He will leave a lasting impact on the company. I wish him success in his future endeavours.”

Polk added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my time at Unilever, especially the last few years working with Paul and the rest of the executive to really transform the company. Our global category organisation is now a real powerhouse that combines global brand and technology scale with local knowledge and execution.”

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