Unilever announces reorganisation to further drive growth

London/Rotterdam: Unilever today announced changes to its category and go-to-market structure to further support its growth plans, especially in its fast-developing businesses in the emerging markets. The new structure allows for a more efficient rollout of increasingly bigger and more scalable innovations, and the optimization of resources behind strategic priorities.

“Unilever now has over half its turnover in the emerging markets, where, over the last 10 years, growth has been close to double digits. We have an opportunity to better support this footprint of the business, to keep our strong momentum, with a more globally aligned country and category organisation.” said Unilever CEO Paul Polman.

As part of these changes Harish Manwani will be appointed as Chief Operating Officer, with effect from 1st September, and will take responsibility for all markets, in order to drive speed-to-market behind further simplification and efficiency.

"Over the past few years we have seen a significant step-up in our innovation success rate and our speed to roll them out across markets. The new structure will further accelerate this," added Polman. The Division organisation will be broadened to four divisions reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman.

Dave Lewis, currently President , Americas, will be appointed as President, Beauty & Personal Care consisting of Skin, Deodorants, Oral and Hair.

Kevin Havelock, currently Executive Vice President Ice Cream, will be appointed as President of the newly established Refreshment category which includes Ice Cream and Beverages.

Antoine de Saint Affrique, currently Executive Vice President Skin, will be appointed as President, Food which includes Savoury, Spreads and Dressings.

In the Home Care category, Randy Quinn, currently Executive Vice President Laundry, and Sean Gogarty, Senior Vice President Household Care, will report directly to Paul Polman.

The new structures will be put in place during the third quarter and will be fully operational before year-end.

Michael B. Polk, currently President, Global Foods, Home and Personal Care and member of the Unilever Executive has announced his intention to leave Unilever after eight successful years with the company to become President & CEO of Newell Rubbermaid with effect from 18th July.

Paul Polman said: “Mike is a great leader and has had a very successful career with Unilever since joining from Kraft eight years ago. In his current role, he has made a major contribution in sharpening our portfolio strategy and developing bigger and better innovations. He will leave a lasting impact on the company. I wish him success in his future endeavours.”

Mike Polk said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my time at Unilever, especially the last few years working with Paul and the rest of the executive to really transform the company. Our global category organisation is now a real powerhouse that combines global brand and technology scale with local knowledge and execution.”


Notes to editors:

Harish Manwani

Harish is currently President, Asia Africa, Central and Eastern Europe. He joined Hindustan Lever (HLL) in 1976, becoming a member of the HLL board in1995 as director responsible for the Personal Products business. As category leader for Personal Products, he also held regional responsibility for the Central Asia and Middle East business group.

In 2000, he moved to the UK as senior vice president, Global Hair Care and Oral Care, and in 2001 was appointed president, Home and Personal Care, Latin America business group. He also served as chairman of Unilever’s Latin America Advisory Council.

In 2004, he was appointed president and CEO of the HPC North America business group, and in April 2005 joined the Unilever Executive as president, Asia Africa. He is also non-executive chairman of Hindustan Lever and is currently a member of the Executive Board of the Indian School of Business.

Dave Lewis

Dave Lewis is currently President, Americas. Dave joined Unilever straight out from university in 1987, starting as a UCMDS trainee for Lever Brothers, based in Kingston, UK. He held various brand marketing and customer management roles in home and personal care, which included launching Dove in the UK in 1992, before becoming company operations manager in 1993.

In 1996, he moved to South America, to be Marketing Director of River Plate (Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay). Heavily involved in the defence of the southern cone laundry business, he also led the regional innovation for household care.

His next move was to Indonesia in 1999, where he was Managing Director of Unilever Indonesia’s personal care business and regional innovation leader for personal care South East Asia. Political unrest and hyperinflation made business conditions particularly challenging, but the business continued to innovate under his leadership and saw an average growth of 30% per year.

Dave took the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard University and then served as Senior Vice President for Home and Personal Care, Central and Eastern Europe for three years. He then returned to the UK and his Kingston roots in 2005 as Managing Director of the UK home and personal care business. In 2007 he became Chairman of Unilever UK and Ireland, as the company consolidated its three separate operating companies – foods, home and personal care and ice cream into a single business as part of its One Unilever programme. He was appointed President of the Americas in 2010.

Kevin Havelock

Kevin Havelock is Executive Vice President Global Ice Cream category, with overall responsibility for Unilever’s ice cream business.

Kevin joined Unilever in 1985 as a Marketing Manager, moving on to management roles in Germany and in the UK. In 1994, he was appointed Marketing Director Van Der Bergh UK, and charged with developing a strategy to build a third pillar for the business in the growing Savoury category. In this role, he also turned around the UK tea business through the innovation and launch of PG Tips Pyramid tea bags, regaining share leadership.

In 1997, Kevin was appointed Chairman France Foods and Chairman Beverages Europe, building global growth platforms for the Unilever Beverages category. In 2000, he took on the role of Chairman Unilever Arabia and Category Chairman Skin, Deodorants and Beverages Arabia Middle East and Turkey, regenerating growth in a business previously declining at 6%. In 2004, he led a similar turnaround as Managing Director for Unilever UK Foods & Refreshment, arresting sales decline, developing the IncsChrysalis concept from initial vision to Execution.

In 2007, Havelock was appointed Executive Vice President Unilever North America and Caribbean, delivering organic growth of 4% during recession, while divesting $2bn of non-core assets in Household Care and Foods & Refreshment, building customer relationships and building the first CiiC centre. In this role, he also executed Unilever’s bigger ever business systems and IT transformation project. He has been in his current role heading up the ice cream business since 2009.

Before joining Unilever, from 1979 to 1985, he held Marketing and Sales management roles with Guinness UK.

Antoine de Saint Affrique

Antoine de Saint Affrique, currently Executive Vice President Skin Category, leads Unilever’s skin cleansing, skin care and face care divisions.

Antoine started his career in Unilever in 1989, within Elida Gibbs Faberge. He then moved on, in 1995 to Chesebrough Pond's USA where he held various roles, the latest being to lead the company’s Oral Care business.

In 1997, Antoine left Unilever to become Marketing VP of Liebig Maille Amora (Group Danone) and taking part in mid-1997, of the LBO of Amora-Maille. The company was run for three years as a private business (Paribas Affaires Industrielles and Lazard being the main shareholders), before being sold to Unilever in 200.

Antoine rejoined Unilever and was appointed European Category Director – Dressings at Unilever Bestfoods Europe. In 2002, he was named Chairman and National Manager, Unilever Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia.

In 2005, Antoine was appointed Executive Vice President Unilever Central & Eastern Europe, overseeing 21 countries. He was appointed to his current role as head of Skin in 2009.

Michael B. Polk

Michael is currently President Global Foods, Home & Personal Care, having been President of Unilever Americas with responsibility for Unilever’s business in North America and Latin America. He is a member of the Unilever Executive reporting to the Chief Executive. He also serves as the Functional Executive for Global Customer Development and the recently acquired TIGI Global Professional Haircare business unit. Prior to his current assignment Polk was President, Unilever United States.

Polk joined Unilever in 2003 having spent the 16 prior years at Kraft Foods where he was a member of the Management Committee. His last assignment was as Group Vice President, Kraft Foods North America and President of the Biscuits, Snacks, and Confections business. 

In that role, he led the integration of Nabisco into Kraft. He held a variety of other leadership positions at Kraft including President, Asia Pacific Region, Executive Vice President and General Manager Cereals, and Vice President Category Sales Management & Strategy. Prior to joining Kraft, Polk spent three years at Procter & Gamble in Manufacturing and Research & Development.

Michael is a Non-Executive Director of Newell Rubbermaid and a member of the Boards of Directors of the Pepsi-Lipton Partnership, the Grocery Manufacturers of America, and the Students in Free Enterprise. Michael is a former member of the Boards of The Yankee Candle Company, Ajinimoto General Foods, and Dong Suh Foods.

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