Unilever boss steps down after HQ move fiasco

Unilever chief Paul Polman is “retiring” from the consumer giant, the firm said Thursday, a month after it was forced to ditch a controversial post-Brexit plan to move its headquarters from London to the Netherlands.

The Anglo-Dutch group, maker of iconic brands like Marmite and Dove soap, will be headed from January by Alan Jope, the current chief of its huge beauty and personal care department.

“Unilever today announced that CEO Paul Polman has decided to retire from the company,” the company said in a statement, adding that he had been in the post for 10 years.

Polman, 62, tweeted that he had decided to “step down from my role as CEO”, adding: “It’s been a great honour to lead this team for the past 10 years and together build a sustainable business that has made a difference to millions of lives.”

“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.”

Neither Unilever nor Polman made any mention of the headquarters plan, but his position had been in doubt since it fell through on October 5.

Unilever had faced mounting opposition from key shareholders, including Aviva Investors, Royal London, Columbia Threadneedle, Legal & General Investment Management, Lindsell Train, M&G Investments and Brewin Dolphin.

Many were angry that the plan would have ended Unilever’s dual listing on the London and Amsterdam stock exchanges, meaning that many would have had to sell shares in Britain.

The group had originally unveiled the planned switch in March in a symbolic decision that was largely interpreted by analysts as a blow to post-Brexit Britain.

It also followed a failed hostile bid by US rival Kraft Heinz last year, which analysts said played a key role in Unilever’s decision as the Netherlands has stronger rules to protect companies against takeovers.

Jope, who currently leads the firm’s largest division, said it would be a “huge privilege to lead Unilever”.

Polman is due to retire as CEO on December 31 but will stay at the company for six months working on the transition with Jope, the firm said.

© Agence France-Presse

Agency
External source
Advertisting

Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

Despite tweet, Zuma keeps silent about providing his taxpayer information

The Public Protector has still not received confirmation from former president Jacob Zuma that she may access his tax records —...

Ahead of WEF, Mboweni will have to assure investors that...

The finance minister says despite the difficult fiscal environment, structural reforms are under way to put SA on a new growth path
Advertising

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.