Unilever CEO Paul Polman to retire, beauty chief Alan Jope to take over

Consumer goods giant Unilever said Thursday that its CEO Paul Polman is to retire and Alan Jope has been appointed as his successor. The Dove and Hourglass owner, which is one of the biggest global names in beauty and personal care, said that Jope has worked for the firm for his entire career, most recently running its giant beauty operation as President where he has overseen a number of key launches and acquisitions.


Unilever's new CEO Alan Jope

He’ll take up his new role at the Anglo-Dutch group on January 1 “with Polman supporting the transition process during the first half of the year.”

Polman has been Unilever CEO for over 10 years and has worked in the consumer goods industry for almost four decades. During his tenure, the company has remained highly successful, has led the way in ethical and sustainable policies and also fought off a hostile takeover big from Kraft Heinz.

But he also failed to win investor approval to switch the firm from a dual listing in the Netherlands and the UK to a single main Netherlands listing.

Jope, a 54-year-old Scot, has led Beauty & Personal Care, which is Unilever's largest division, since 2014 and has been on the company's leadership executive since 2011. The company said he “has an excellent track record of leading Unilever's business in both developed and emerging markets, having run the company's North Asia business for four years, served as President, Russia, Africa & Middle East, and spent over a decade in senior Foods, Home Care and Personal Care roles for Unilever US.”

Unilever Chairman Marijn Dekkers said: "Paul is an exceptional business leader who has transformed Unilever, making it one of the best-performing companies in its sector. 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.

He added: ”After a rigorous and wide-ranging selection process, the board is delighted to appoint Alan to the role. Alan 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.”

A successor to his role of President, Beauty & Personal Care will be announced shortly.

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