Unilever’s CEO of ten years, Paul Polman, has announced that he will be retiring from the company. Alan Jope, the company’s current President of Beauty and Personal Care, will assume the position January 1, 2019. Polman will act in an advisory role the first half of year to support the transition process.
“It has been an honor 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," said Polman in a company press release. "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 congratulate Alan on his appointment and look forward to working with him on the transition. Having worked closely with Alan 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."
Having worked in the consumer goods business for the past forty years, Polman helped Unilever deliver consistent top and bottom line growth ahead of its markets. The company noted that his successor, Jope, will follow in line with leading Unilever in developed and emerging markets.
“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,” Jope said.
Several days after dropping the news of Polman’s retirement, Unilever announced its plans to acquire the Health Food Drinks portfolio (GSK HFD) of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), an Indian consumer business, for $3.8 billion dollars. This includes malted milk drink Horlicks, a drinks segment worth roughly $1.1 billion dollars.
Bloomberg noted that this acquisition boosts the company’s footprint in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. In 2018, the GSK HFD portfolio delivered a total turnover of $624 million, primarily through its Horlicks and Boost brands.
The transaction, Unilever noted, aligns with its strategy of increasing its presence in health-food categories and high-growth emerging markets.
“We are delighted to be acquiring the GSK Health Food Drinks portfolio. The iconic Horlicks brand has a deep heritage, credibility, and resonance around the world,” stated Nitin Paranjpe, President, Food & Refreshment, Unilever. “The acquisition is transformative for our Foods and Refreshment business, allowing us to enter the Health Foods Drinks category, further strengthening our position in health and wellness."
He continued, stating that "it is rare to be able to acquire brands with such leading market positions and fantastic consumer equity in one of the world’s most exciting and fast-growing markets. Improving the health and wellbeing of 1 billion people by 2020 is a key pillar in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. Horlicks and Boost will add to our stable of purpose driven brands that help consumers to get more out of their lives.”
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