Unilever reshapes its global research & development
Unilever today announced the intention to consolidate its R&D activities into a number of larger sites located in its key markets.
Today's announcement is part of the company's 'One Unilever' programme, builds on a review in 2006 into Unilever's science and technology capabilities led by Vindi Banga, President, Foods & Refreshment, Home and Beauty & Personal Care and a review started earlier this year, following the creation of the single category function and the appointment of Geneviève Berger as Unilever's Chief R&D Officer.
The intention is to combine the three global R&D operations (Foods R&D, HPC R&D and Corporate Research) into one Unilever R&D organisation and marks a significant step forward in increasing its efficiency, simplicity and focus in R&D. Through the intended changes, Unilever will be able to deliver an integrated R&D programme, reduce overlap in activities between sites and increase the speed and impact of innovations.
For research, led by Chief R&D Officer, Geneviève Berger, Unilever has chosen six strategic sites - Vlaardingen (NL), Port Sunlight & Colworth (UK), Trumbull, (USA) Bangalore (India) and Shanghai (China) – as the global expertise base from which it will deliver an integrated research programme, together with external collaborators in a strong open Innovation programme.
For product design and deployment, which is part of the category organisation led by Vindi, Unilever has decided to consolidate Food activities in the Americas to Englewood Cliffs (USA), Valinhos (Brasil) and Mexico City (Mexico). Global Laundry R&D is consolidated in Vlaardingen (NL), Port Sunlight (UK) and Mumbai (India).
Geneviève said: "The steps we have announced today will enable us to go further in focussing our resources on creating fewer, bigger innovations, and deploying them at scale in areas where we want to win. These changes to our organisational structure, together with an increased focus on our open innovation collaborations, will enable us to more efficiently deliver improved product performance to our consumers."
Vindi said: "Today's announcement marks the next step in the creation of a more impactful R&D function at Unilever. Although we already have a strong innovation pipeline, these changes will enable us to drive harder than ever to increase our competitiveness in the market place."
As a result of the intended changes, Unilever expects that approximately 390 full time positions will be impacted resulting in a net reduction of 250 full time positions. Unilever has a strong track record in managing complex change programmes and it will do its utmost to minimise the need for compulsory redundancies.
100 Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0DY
+44 (0) 207 822 5252
This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as 'expects', 'anticipates', 'intends' or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, including financial objectives to 2010, and their negatives are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Group. They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including, among others, competitive pricing and activities, consumption levels, costs, the ability to maintain and manage key customer relationships and supply chain sources, currency values, interest rates, the ability to integrate acquisitions and complete planned divestitures, the ability to complete planned restructuring activities, physical risks, environmental risks, the ability to manage regulatory, tax and legal matters and resolve pending matters within current estimates, legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments, political, economic and social conditions in the geographic markets where the Group operates and new or changed priorities of the Boards. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group's filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Annual Report & Accounts on Form 20-F. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based