Polman has been Unilever CEO for more than 10 years and has worked in the consumer goods industry for almost four decades. During his tenure, the company has delivered consistent top and bottom line growth ahead of its markets. Its focus on successfully pioneering a new model of sustainable growth has served the needs of its many stakeholders and created excellent returns for its shareholders, delivering a total shareholder return of 290% over that period.
Jope, 54, has led beauty and personal care, Unilever’s largest Division, since 2014 and has been on the company’s Leadership Executive since 2011. He has an excellent track record of leading Unilever’s business in both developed and emerging markets, having run the company’s North Asia business for four years, served as president, Russia, Africa & Middle East, and spent more than a decade in senior foods, home care and personal care roles for Unilever US. He joined the company as a graduate marketing trainee in 1985.
Jope’s successor will be announced shortly, according to Unilever.
“Paul is an exceptional business leader who has transformed Unilever, making it one of the best-performing companies in its sector, and one of the most admired businesses in the world. His role in helping to define a new era of responsible capitalism, embodied in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, marks him out as one of the most far-sighted business leaders of his generation,” said Unilever chairman Marijn Dekkers. “Paul’s vision, drive and performance focus, combined with his commitment to serving the best long-term interests of the company, have materially strengthened Unilever. He leaves a more agile and resilient company, well placed to win in this fast-changing, dynamic industry. I’d like to thank him personally, and on behalf of the Board, for his contribution to Unilever.
According to Dekkers, after a “rigorous and wide-ranging selection process, the board is delighted to appoint Alan to the role. Having worked for Unilever in a variety of senior management roles, Alan has a deep understanding and experience of our business, the industry, and the markets in which we operate. He is a strong, dynamic and values-driven leader with an impressive track record of delivering consistent high-quality performance.
“I congratulate Alan on his appointment and look forward to working with him on the transition. Having worked closely with Alan for many years, I am highly confident that under his leadership, Unilever will prosper long into the future. His appointment demonstrates the strength of Unilever’s succession planning and talent pipeline,” said Polman.