Unilever CEO Polman Quits After 10 Years

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Dec 03, 2018

The CEO of Unilever is stepping down after 10 years at the helm.

Paul Polman’s tenure was marked by a 290% return on investment and a successful defense against a takeover bid by Kraft Heinz. On the other hand, his attempt to move the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate’s headquarters out of the United Kingdom was shot down last month after large shareholders objected. The company, which has long maintained dual headquarters in the UK and Holland, was seen as trying to pull out in the wake of Brexit. Polman was also criticized in the last few years for what some investors saw as an overemphasis on sustainability in Unilever’s operations and packaging.

Polman will be succeeded by Alan Jope, who rose from the ranks after joining Unilever’s marketing department in 1985. Jope, whose background is in personal care products, ran Unilever’s businesses in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and has had senior roles in the United States.