The London team at Unilever is preparing for a shift in its executive team, as Chief Legal Officer and Group Secretary Ritva Sotamaa has decided to retire from the company. In addition, Marc Engel, Chief Supply Chain Officer has announced he too will be leaving Unilever.
Sotamaa joined Unilever in 2013 as the company’s Chief Legal Officer. In 2018, Sotamaa was then appointed as the team’s Group Secretary in addition to her Chief Legal Officer role. Sotamaa has announced she will be retiring at the end of March 2022 after her 8-year tenure.
Alan Jope, Unilever’s Chief Executive Officer, commented on Sotamaa’s career and the upcoming transition.
“Ritva has built a first-class legal function at Unilever, brought great leadership to our business integrity agenda, and was instrumental in the successful unification of our dual-headed legal structure,” stated Jope. “I am very thankful for her wisdom, advice, and support over many years, and wish her the very best for the future.
Sotamaa will be succeeded by Maria Varsellona.
Varsellona currently is the General Counsel and Company Secretary for global technology company ABB Ltd. Prior to joining ABB in November 2019, Varsellona was Chief Legal Officer of Nokia, as well as President of Nokia Technologies. Before joining Nokia, she held senior legal positions in Tetra Laval Group, Switzerland; GE in Italy; and Hertz Europe.
“At the same time, I am delighted to welcome Maria to Unilever and look forward to working closely with her,” continued Jope. “Maria’s deep experience and strong track record of delivery make her ideally placed to support the next stage of Unilever’s journey.
Engel, current Chief Supply Chain Officer, has also announced he will be exiting the company. Engel’s career at Unilever spans 30 years, and he has been a member of the Unilever Leadership Executive (ULE) for the past six years. In the release, Engel announced he will be departing in April 2022.
“Marc’s leadership of our supply chain has been critical to Unilever becoming a faster, more resilient, and more sustainable business. I am very grateful for Marc’s contributions over his long career with Unilever, and in particular for his stewardship of our supply chain through the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years,” Jope noted on Engel’s tenure with the company.
As Engel prepares for his exit, he will be succeeded by Reginaldo Ecclissato.
Ecclissato also has over 30 years of experience with Unilever, working across both developed and emerging markets. Currently, he is the current Executive Vice President of Mexico, Central America, and the Greater Caribbean. Prior to his most recent role, he was Executive Vice President of Unilever’s Americas Supply Chain. Ecclissato will assume the role from January 1, 2022 and will join the ULE at the same time.
“I am also very pleased that, in Reginaldo, we have an internal successor with extensive supply chain experience who has overseen significant business growth and brought impressive leadership to the Mexico, Central America, and Greater Caribbean region,” Jope said on the Ecclissato’s appointment.
Executive transitions are bittersweet, but the experiences and impact made are felt by many, and we would be remiss in forgetting their contributions.
“On behalf of everyone at Unilever, I would like to thank Ritva and Marc for their tremendous contribution over the course of their careers with us,” Jope expressed.
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