Unilever announces a new chairman

Michael Treschow to succeed Antony Burgmans in May 2007.

Unilever today announced that Michael Treschow, one of Europe's leading business figures, will succeed Antony Burgmans as Chairman of Unilever NV and Unilever PLC at the Annual General Meeting in May 2007.

Mr Treschow will be the first person from outside Unilever to hold the office of Chairman and, following the restructuring of the Boards in recent years, will be the first independent, non-executive Chairman of the company.

Mr Treschow is currently the Chairman of both Ericsson and Electrolux, and a non-executive director of ABB Group. He has recently announced that he will stand down in April as Chairman of Electrolux. He is currently the Chairman of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise but will relinquish that position in May when his term expires. He is also a prominent member of both UNICE (the European Employers Federation), and the Transatlantic Business Dialogue.

As previously announced, Antony Burgmans will retire from Unilever at the 2007 AGMs after 35 years distinguished service. He joined the Board in 1991 and in 1999 he was appointed Executive Chairman of Unilever NV and Deputy Chairman of Unilever PLC. In 2005, following a major review of Unilever's governance arrangements, he was appointed the first non-executive Chairman of both parent companies.

Lord Simon, Deputy Chairman and Senior Independent Director said: "The Board of Unilever is delighted to make this appointment. The Nomination Committee conducted a thorough search. We deliberately set the bar high and I'm delighted our efforts have yielded such an excellent result."

Antony Burgmans said: "Michael Treschow is a businessman with a formidable track record gained in some of the world's most competitive consumer industries. He has already proved himself an effective Chairman and I have no doubt Unilever will benefit greatly from his knowledge and experience. His international reputation, his abiding interest in the development of international business together with his familiarity with cultural diversity, make him an irresistible choice to lead Unilever."

Michael Treschow said: "I am honoured to have been invited by the Board to become Unilever's Chairman and to help build on the transformation that the current management have wrought. It is a great business, with great brands and an unequalled global reach and Patrick Cescau and I are looking forward immensely to working together in the future."

Biographical details

Antony Burgmans

Born in Rotterdam in 1947, Antony studied at Nijenrode in the Netherlands before going on to study political and social sciences at the University of Stockholm in Sweden. He then completed an MA at the University of Lancaster, UK.

He joined Unilever in 1972 as a marketing assistant and later went on to hold marketing and sales positions in the company's detergents businesses in Indonesia and the Netherlands, before being appointed chairman of PT Unilever Indonesia.

In 1994 he became chairman of the Europe Committee, which co-ordinates Unilever's European activities. Four years later he was appointed vice chairman of Unilever NV and became chairman of Unilever NV in May 1999. In May 2005, he became chairman of Unilever NV and PLC.

Antony Burgmans is also a member of the supervisory board of Akzo Nobel and non-executive director of BP.

His affinity with wildlife led to his participation in the joint initiative between Unilever and the World Wildlife Fund and the setting up of the Marine Stewardship Council. He also chaired a CEO Panel at the World Water Forum in The Hague in 2000 and in Kyoto in 2003.

Career path:

  • 1972: Joined Unilever
  • 1976: Sales and planning member, Lever Sunlight Holland
  • 1978: Marketing manager, detergents, Unilever Indonesia
  • 1980: Marketing controller, Unilever Indonesia
  • 1982: Marketing and sales director, Lever Sunlight Holland
  • 1985: Marketing director, Lever Sunlight Germany
  • 1988: Chairman, Unilever Indonesia
  • 1991: Appointed director
  • 1991/94: Personal products co-ordinator
  • 1994/98: Business group president, Ice Cream and Frozen Foods Europe; chairman of Unilever Europe Committee
  • 1998: Vice chairman, Unilever NV
  • 1999: Appointed chairman of Unilever NV and vice chairman, Unilever PLC
  • 2005: Elected chairman of Unilever NV and PLC

Michael Treschow

Michael Treschow was born 1943 in Helsingborg, Sweden. He earned a Master of Science degree from the Institute of Technology in Lund, Sweden

Michael Treschow has had a long and distinguished business career, including spells working in France and the US. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Ericsson. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Electrolux Group until April 2002, a position to which he was appointed in 1997. In May 2004 Mr Treschow became Chairman of the Board of AB Electrolux. He announced in December 2006 that he will not stand for re-election at the company's Annual General Meeting in April 2007. He is also a board member of ABB Group.

In addition to Electrolux, Mr Treschow held executive positions at Atlas Copco, where he was chief executive for six years.

Mr Treschow has previously held non-executive Board positions at Investor AB, Atlas Copco AB, SKF AB, Saab Automobiles, and at Parker-Hannifin Corp.

Michael Treschow is also Chairman of the Board of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, a position from which he will stand down in May 2007.

About Unilever

Unilever's mission is to add vitality to life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and beauty & personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life.

Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with strong local roots in more than 100 countries across the globe. Its portfolio includes some of the world's best known and most loved brands including twelve €1 billion brands and global leadership in many divisions in which the company operates. The portfolio features brand icons such as: Knorr, Hellmann's, Lipton, Blue Band, Flora/Becel, Bertolli; Dove, Lux, Pond's, Axe/Lynx, Rexona/Sure; Skip/Persil; Cif and Domestos.

Unilever has around 206 000 employees in approaching 100 countries and generated annual sales of €40 billion in 2005. For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com.

Unilever PLC

Unilever House
100 Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0DY
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 207 822 5252

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