Unilever’s chief executive Alan Jope has announced his intention to retire from the consumer goods giant at the end of 2023, after five years at the helm.
The board will now proceed with a formal search for a successor and will consider both internal and external candidates.
It comes a year after Jope headed a botched attempt to buy GSK’s consumer healthcare business.
The Marmite and Dove maker has also faced scrutiny from shareholders in recent months for prioritising sustainability over core growth.
The company’s share price was elevated by one per cent in early trading on Monday morning.
Unilever chairman Nils Andersen said the firm had seen “improved performance, enabled by its clear strategic choices and a significant company transformation,” and that Jope’s retirement would “mark the end of a remarkable career” with Unilever.
“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,” Andersen added.
Jope added: “As I approach my fifth year as chief executive, 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.
“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,” he said.
Rival Reckitt is also fielding applications for a new CEO, after last month announcing that chief Laxman Narasimhan would step down to move back to the US “for personal and family reasons”.