Unilever reorganizes, Polk to leave July 18

by Keith Nunes
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LONDON — Unilever has reorganized in an effort to “further support its growth plans, especially in its fast-developing businesses in the emerging markets,” according to the company. The company said the new structure will allow it to more efficiently roll-out bigger and more scalable innovations.

“Unilever now has over half its turnover in the emerging markets, where, over the last 10 years, growth has been close to double digits,” said Paul Polman, chief executive officer. “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 organization.”

In the new structure, Harish Manwani will be appointed as chief operating officer effective Sept. 1, and will take responsibility for all markets, in order to drive speed-to-market behind further simplification and efficiency. Mr. Manwani is currently president of the company’s Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern European regions.

From a business unit perspective, Unilever’s divisions will be broadened to four and include Refreshment, Food, Home Care and Personal Care. The leader of each unit will report to Mr. Polman.

Kevin Havelock, currently executive vice-president of ice cream, will be appointed president of the newly established Refreshment category, which includes the company’s ice cream and beverages businesses. Antoine de Saint Affrique, currently executive vice-president of skin, will be appointed as president of the Food unit, which includes savory, spreads and dressings products.

Dave Lewis, currently president of the Americas unit, will be appointed president of Personal Care consisting of skin, deodorants, oral and hair. Randy Quinn, executive vice-president of laundry, and Sean Gogarty, senior vice-president of household care, will manage the Home Care business unit.

Michael B. Polk, currently president of Unilever’s Global Foods, Home and Personal Care, and a member of the Unilever executive committee, announced he is leaving Unilever after eight years with the company to become president and c.e.o. of Newell Rubbermaid, effective July 18.

The company said the new structure will be put in place during the third quarter of this year and will be fully operational before year-end.

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