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Unilever names Hein Schumacher as new CEO

Following a global search for a new chief executive officer, consumer goods giant Unilever has appointed Hein Schumacher to the top job. He succeeds Alan Jope, who announced in September 2022 his intention to retire from the company.
Hein Schumacher, Unilever's newly-appointed CEO. Source: Supplied
Hein Schumacher, Unilever's newly-appointed CEO. Source: Supplied

Schumacher is currently CEO of the global dairy and nutrition business Royal FrieslandCampina and became a non-executive director of Unilever in October last year. He will begin as Unilever CEO on 1 July 2023, after a one-month handover period.

Schumacher has a track record across multiple prominent companies in the consumer goods industry. As CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina, an €11bn turnover business operating in over 40 countries, he has delivered significant portfolio and organisation change as part of transforming it into a more focused, growth-driven and sustainable business, Unilever said in a release.

Prior to joining Royal FrieslandCampina as CFO in 2014, Schumacher worked for H.J. Heinz for over a decade – during a time of significant change at the company – across the US, Europe and Asia. In his last four years at Heinz he was based in China, where he led a turnaround of the Asia Pacific zone. He began his career in finance at Unilever, before joining Royal Ahold NV.

Schumacher commented: “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.”

Unilever chairman Nils Andersen said: “We are delighted to welcome Hein as our new chief executive, after an extensive, global search process. Hein is a dynamic, values-driven business leader who has a diverse background of experiences and an excellent track record of delivery in the global consumer goods industry.

“He has exceptional strategic capabilities, proven operational effectiveness, and strong experience in both developed and developing markets. The board looks forward to Hein realising the full potential of Unilever as a winning business which delivers long-term growth and value for all its stakeholders.

Andersen added, “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Alan for his leadership of Unilever. The changes he has made to the company’s strategy, structure and organisation leave Unilever far better positioned for success. Alan will continue to lead Unilever until the end of June. He will be retiring after a tremendous 37-year career with our business.”

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