Unilever has announced that CEO Paul Polman will retire after 10 years of leading the consumer goods giant.
Polman, who has worked in the consumer goods industry for almost four decades, helped the company deliver “consistent top and bottom line growth ahead of its markets”
“Paul’s vision, drive and performance focus, combined with his commitment to serving the best long-term interests of the company, have materially strengthened Unilever. He leaves a more agile and resilient company, well placed to win in this fast-changing, dynamic industry,” Unilever chairman Marijn Dekkers said in a statement.
Alan Jope, current President, Beauty & Personal Care, will take up the position on January 1, with Polman supporting the transition during the first half of the year.
Jope has led Beauty & Personal Care, Unilever’s largest Division, since 2014 and has been on the company’s leadership executive since 2011.
“Paul is 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,” Dekkers said.
Paul Polman said he was “highly confident” that Unilever will “prosper long into the future” under Alan’s leadership.
“It has been an honour to lead Unilever over the last 10 years. Throughout this time, I have been humbled by the commitment and hard work of our people, and their passion for creating a truly purpose-driven company. I am very grateful to them, as I am to Unilever’s many other stakeholders, with whom we have worked to build our long-term, sustainable business. I look forward to engaging with many of these partners – in a different capacity – to help address the many environmental and social challenges facing the world,” Polman said.
Alan Jope said it will be a “huge privilege” to lead Unilever and the focus will remain on serving consumers and stakeholders to deliver long-term growth.