Unilever appoints new Dutch boss to deliver “step up” in performance at embattled giant
A Dutch dairy boss who has sat as a non-executive board member at Unilever since last year will move into the CEO role at the consumer giant.
Hein Schumacher has led the dairy firm Royal FrieslandCampina, an £11bn business operating in over 40 countries, since 2018.
Schumacher’s appointment comes after embattled boss Alan Jope announced he was stepping down.
Jope had been under pressure for an under-performing share price and then failed in a bid to buy rival GSK’s consumer healthcare division, which legendary City investor Terry Smith described as a “near-death experience” for the firm.
Schumacher began his career in finance at Unilever and has also worked for Heinz.
He will take the top job at the start of July of this year.
“I am delighted to have been appointed to lead Unilever. It is a business with an impressive global footprint, a strong brand portfolio, a talented team and an enviable reputation as a leader in sustainability. In my time serving on the Board, I have only become more convinced by the strength of Unilever’s fundamentals and its clear growth potential. I will be very focused on working with the Unilever team to deliver a step-up in business performance, as we serve the billions of people around the world who use its products every day,” Schumacher said this morning.
He will be paid an annual salary of around £1.7m and be eligible for further bonus payments, the firm said in a statement to markets.
Unilever has attracted attention from activists in recent years, notably Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners.
The aforementioned Smith also made headlines when he attacked the company’s focus on ‘purpose’ – memorably citing a desire to give Hellmann’s mayonnaise a higher meaning suggested the firm had “lost the plot.”