Incoming Unilever CEO Paul Polman and current CEO Patrick Cescau were in the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai when it was attacked by terrorists last week, trapped there for hours until rescued in the wee hours of Friday morning by police and firefighters, reports AdAge.com.
Unilever executives, there for a dinner to bid farewell to Cescau and welcome Polman, were told to lie flat on the floor of the banquet room during the first hour of the attack. A window was broken to let in air after the room filled with smoke. The Economic Times of India reported that senior personnel from Unilever and some former colleagues were in constant contact by mobile devices and tried to help arrange their rescue.
India long has been Unilever's biggest developing market, and the company has long been the biggest multinational player there in package goods, with annual sales of more than $4 billion.
Cescau and Polman left Mumbai shortly after their rescue, said Unilever spokesman Trevor Gorin. "It was a pretty narrow escape is how I would characterize it."