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Unilever's CEO, Polman, retires, replaced by Jope | Investment News



Reuters

PHOTO OF THE FILE: Paul Polman, President and CEO of Unilever Plc, participates in the summer forum of the MEDEF union on the campus of the HEC School of Management in Jouy-en-Josas, near Paris, August 28, 2018. REUTERS / Benoit TessierReuters

LONDON (Reuters) – Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Paul Polman, his CEO, retires less than two months after a detrimental shareholder dispute and will be replaced by Alan Jope, head of his beauty unit, effective Jan. 1.

The release of Polman comes after the soap maker Dove and the ice cream Ben & Jerry were forced to abandon a project to transfer the company's headquarters in the Netherlands in October, following a revolt investors.

Jope, 54, is the boss of the beauty and personal care division, which is Unilever's largest, accounting for almost half of the group's annual profits. He is also a former leader of his business in China and has long been considered the successor of Polman.

"Our global footprint includes strong positions in many important markets for the future, and our goal will continue to serve our consumers, as well as our many other stakeholders, to ensure long-term growth and creation." of value, "said Jope.

At the helm of Unilever for 10 years, Polman generated huge returns for its shareholders totaling 290% over the period, extended its presence in emerging markets and, in 2017, withstood a 143 billion takeover approach. dollars by Kraft-Heinz.

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This unsuccessful offer, however, prompted Dutchman Polman to seek an end to the Anglo-Dutch two-headed Unilever structure, prompting an angry reaction from UK-based shareholders, as Unilever should have left the company. British FTSE stock index, forcing some to sell.

Polman and fellow countryman Marijn Dekkers, the chairman, abandoned the plan on Oct. 5 after it became apparent that it might not be approved by investors.

The appointment of Jope, of British origin, rebalances the Anglo-Dutch leadership of the company.

Jope, at Unilever since 1985, will receive a fixed salary of 1.45 million euros ($ 1.65 million), as well as a target annual bonus of 150% of fixed compensation in his new role as General manager.

He was appointed to this post after what the president called "a rigorous and varied selection process".

Liberum analyst, Nico von Stackelberg, said that Polman's estate had leaked a lot of ink after the failed reorganization.

"Jope is a strong internal candidate for the role with extensive global leadership experience," he said in a note.

Polman, who received a fixed annual salary of 1.4 million pounds, but with bonuses of about 10 million pounds, will remain six months to support Jope's transition, Unilever said in his statement.

"Having worked closely with Alan for many years, I am confident that under his leadership, Unilever will prosper for a long time," said Polman.

Shares of Unilever rose 0.8% on Thursday to 4,294 pence. The stock has risen 170% since Polman held the top job in early 2009.

(Report by Sarah Young, edited by Kate Holton and Keith Weir)

Copyright 2018 Thomson Reuters.


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