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Unilever reveals Hein Schumacher will replace Alan Jope as CEO

New boss: Hein Schumacher, 51, currently heads Royal FrieslandCampina, a Dutch supplier of dairy and nutritional products with more than 11 billion euros in annual turnover

Unilever reveals Dutch dairy cooperative boss Hein Schumacher as new CEO as Alan Jope quits

  • Schumacher currently runs dairy supplier Royal FrieslandCampina
  • The Dutch businessman started his career as CFO at Unilever
  • Unilever owns Magnum Ice Cream, Dove Soap and Hellman’s Mayonnaise

Unilever has appointed the head of one of the world’s largest dairy cooperatives to succeed Alan Jope as chief executive.

Hein Schumacher, 51, currently heads Royal FrieslandCampina, a Dutch dairy and nutrition supplier with around 23,000 employees worldwide and more than €11 billion in annual revenue.

Before joining the company, he spent more than a decade working for HJ Heinz, famous for its ketchup and baked beans, where he became president in China and eventually throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

The Dutch businessman started his career as chief financial officer at Unilever, which appointed him non-executive director three months ago, and also spent time at retailer Royal Ahold.

He will take the reins of the consumer goods giant, owner of the Magnum Ice Cream, Dove Soap and Hellman’s Mayonnaise brands, in early July after a month-long handover period.

Unilever said Schumacher would receive an annual salary of €1.85m (£1.62m), plus performance-related bonuses and awards, as well as equity awards to make up for lost incentive payments from FrieslandCampina.

Its chairman, Nils Andersen, said Schumacher is “a dynamic, values-driven business leader with a diverse background and excellent delivery record in the global consumer goods industry.”

He added, “He has exceptional strategic capabilities, proven operational effectiveness and a solid track record in both developed and developing markets.”

Unilever shares were up 0.7% at £40.50 on Monday morning, similar to their value when Scottish-born Jope became chief executive in January 2019.

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Jope revealed in September last year that he would step down amid investor criticism of the company’s management, including its failed £50billion bid to buy the business division. consumer healthcare from GSK.

The multinational pharmaceutical company eventually decided to spin off the unit, which houses brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste and Corsodyl mouthwash, into a separate listed company known as Haleon.

Fund manager Terry Smith likened the failed takeover to a ‘near-death experience’ in a letter that also blasted Unilever’s weak sales growth compared to other fast-moving consumer goods companies .

Smith further accused the Marmite owner of being “obsessed with displaying his sustainability credentials publicly” at the expense of improving more fundamental aspects of the business.

In its latest third-quarter results, Unilever revealed that its revenue rose 17.8% year-on-year, with price increases and beneficial currency movements offsetting lower product volumes.

The company has raised prices faster than some of its rivals in response to soaring energy, wage and food costs, but that puts it at major risk of losing customers, according to Victoria Scholar, head of investments at Interactive Investor.

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She said: “While Unilever is in the consumer staples sector, a part of the market that is generally seen as relatively resilient to an economic downturn, the business faces challenges from rising costs. and the risk of consumers opting for an unbranded and cheaper alternative. some products.

“Unilever has tried to offset cost pressures by raising prices, but this could dampen demand in the face of cost of living pressures and weaken relationships with retailers who are also facing already squeezed margins.”

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