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PEOPLE

Jope to succeed retiring Polman as chief executive officer of Unilever
Friday, 30 November, 2018, 16 : 00 PM [IST]
London
Alan Jope, who has been president, beauty and personal care, Unilever’s largest division, since 2014, has been appointed the company’s chief executive officer and will assume office on January 1, 2019. He will succeed Paul Polman, who held the position for over a decade, and has decided to retire from the company and its board on December 31, 2018. The latter, a consumer goods industry veteran of about four decades, will support the transition process for the first half of 2019, and will leave the company in early July 2019.

During Polman’s tenure, the company delivered consistent top and bottom line growth ahead of its markets. Its focus on successfully pioneering a new model of sustainable growth has served the needs of its many stakeholders and created excellent returns for its shareholders, delivering a total shareholder return of 290 per cent over that period.

The 54-year-old Jope, who joined the company as a graduate marketing trainee in 1985, has been on Unilever’s leadership executive since 2011. He has an excellent track record of leading the company’s business in both developed and emerging markets, having run its North Asia business for four years, served as president, Russia, Africa and the Middle-East, and spent over a decade in senior foods, home care and personal care roles for Unilever US.

Marijn Dekkers, chairman, Unilever, said, “Polman 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.”

“His 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. I would like to thank him personally, and on behalf of the board, for his contribution to Unilever,” he added.

“After a rigorous and wide-ranging selection process, the board is delighted to appoint Jope to the role. Having worked for Unilever in a variety of senior management roles, he has a deep understanding and experience of our business, the industry, and the markets in which we operate. He is a strong, dynamic and values-driven leader with an impressive track record of delivering consistent high-quality performance. The board warmly welcomes Jope to the role and wishes him every success,” Dekkers stated.

Polman said, “I congratulate Jope on his appointment and look forward to working with him on the transition. Having worked closely with him for many years, I am highly confident that under his leadership, Unilever will prosper long into the future. His appointment demonstrates the strength of Unilever’s succession planning and talent pipeline.”

“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,” he added.

Jope said, “It will be a huge privilege to lead Unilever – a truly global company full of talented people, and brilliant brands. Over the 30 years I have worked at Unilever, I have seen the many ways in which our brands improve people’s lives, positively impacting over two billion citizens every day.”

“Our global footprint includes strong positions in many important markets for the future and our focus will remain on serving our consumers, and our other multiple stakeholders, to deliver long-term growth and value creation,” he added.

“I would also like to extend my gratitude to Polman for his remarkable leadership of Unilever and look forward to working closely with him during the transition,” stated Jope, whose successor to the role of president, beauty and bersonal care, will be announced shortly.
 
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