Unilever Chief Executive Officer Alan Jope will retire from the company at the end of 2023, the company announced on Monday.
“As I approach my fifth year as CEO, and after more than 35 years in Unilever, I believe now is the right time for the Board to begin the formal search for my successor,” Jope said in the company’s press release. “Growth remains our top priority, and in the quarters ahead I will remain fully focused on disciplined execution of our strategy, and leveraging the full benefits of our new organisation.”
Jope, 59, has been at the helm since January 2019, following the departure of Paul Polman. The outgoing CEO joined Unilever as a trainee in 1985 and worked in different sales and marketing roles before then heading several of the group’s divisions, including beauty and personal care, and the company’s China operations.
The British multinational consumer goods company owns several big name brands, including Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Dove soap and Cif and Domestos cleaning products.
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Unilever’s Board will now conduct a formal search for the next CEO of the company and will consider both internal and external candidates, the press release said.
“Unilever has seen improved performance, enabled by its clear strategic choices and a significant company transformation,” Unilever Chairman Nils Andersen said in the release. “The Board will now conduct an orderly succession process and support Alan and the management team in further driving the performance of Unilever.”
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“Alan’s retirement next year will mark the end of a remarkable career with Unilever,” Anderson continued. “Under his leadership, Unilever has made critical changes to its strategy, structure and organisation that position it strongly for success. This work continues, and we will thank Alan wholeheartedly for his leadership and contribution to our business when he leaves next year.”
Jope’s announcement comes amid pressure from shareholders to boost Unilever’s performance. The company had failed to secure a deal to acquire GSK’s consumer health unit for $53 billion.
Last month, Unilever said its sales were impacted by consumers opting for cheaper versions of its products as the company’s prices rose.
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