Unilever CEO Paul Polman to retire; Alan Jope to succeed him
Polman will step down from his role from January 1, but will stay on for six months to help out with the transition.
Consumer goods giant Unilever on Thursday announced that its long-time Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman would retire at the end of the year. He will be succeeded by Alan Jope. Jope, 54, is currently the President of the company’s beauty and personal care division.
Polman will step down from his role from January 1, but will stay on for another six months to help out with the transition.
In a statement issued by the company, 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, 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."
“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. I’d like to thank him personally, and on behalf of the Board, for his contribution to Unilever," he added.
On Jope's selection for the role, the company said,"After a rigorous and wide-ranging selection process, the Board is delighted to appoint Alan to the role. Having worked for Unilever in a variety of senior management roles, 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. The Board warmly welcomes Alan to the role and wishes him every success.”
"During his tenure, the company has 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% over that period," the company said in a statement.
Commenting on his decision to step down, Polman said, “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 also tweeted about his decision.
It has been a true privilege to be @Unilever’s CEO, I will always remain a passionate advocate for all the company stands for, immensely proud of what we have achieved over the past 10 year, & will continue to work towards making sustainability commonplace https://t.co/t56TJ7N0tA pic.twitter.com/1lIvcK5z97— Paul Polman (@PaulPolman) 29 November 2018
I have no doubts that I will be leaving the company in excellent hands. Under Alan's leadership @Unilever is well-placed to prosper long into the future, staying true to the values which make it so special, and continue to do well by doing good https://t.co/uXL1ay8mPk pic.twitter.com/vIF3237Oxp— Paul Polman (@PaulPolman) 29 November 2018
Talking about his new role, Alan 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 more than 2 billion citizens every day."
“I’d also like to extend my gratitude to Paul for his remarkable leadership of Unilever and look forward to working closely with him during the transition,” Jope added.
The company has reportedly said that it will soon announce Jope’s successor.
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