Unilever's chief executive Polman to retire

Unilever's chief executive Polman to retire
Paul Polman has been chief executive officer of Unilever for more than a decade

29 November 2018 - Deborah Wilkes

Unilever's chief executive officer Paul Polman is retiring from the company after more than 10 years in the post.

Alan Jope – currently president of Unilever's largest division, Beauty & Personal Care – will take over as chief executive officer on 1 January 2019.

Jope, 54, has led Beauty & Personal Care since 2014, and has been a member of Unilever's Leadership Executive since 2011. He joined Unilever as a graduate marketing trainee in 1985.

Unilever said the new president of the Beauty & Personal Care division would be announced shortly.

Polman will retire as chief executive officer and a member of the board on 31 December 2018. Unilever said he would support the transition process in the first half of 2019 and would leave the company in early July 2019.

Unilever's chairman Marijn Dekkers said Polman was "an exceptional business leader who has transformed Unilever, making it one of the best-performing companies in its sector, and one of the most admired businesses in the world".

"His role in helping to define a new era of responsible capitalism, embodied in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, marks him out as one of the most far-sighted business leaders of his generation," added Dekkers.

Unilever recently abandoned a proposal to move its headquarters out of the UK and consolidate its corporate structure in the Netherlands. The Anglo-Dutch company said it had not received support from a significant group of shareholders.

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