Unilever: CEO Paul Polman to step down

It is almost a year since Unilever rejected Kraft's takeover bid

The chief executive of Unilever, Paul Polman, will retire at the end of the year.

Polman will be leaving the group following ten years in charge after the company was forced to scrap plans to move headquarters to Rotterdam. 

Unilever chairman Marijn Dekkers said:

“Paul is an exceptional business leader who has transformed Unilever, making it one of the best-performing companies in its sector, and one of the most admired businesses in the world. His role in helping to define a new era of responsible capitalism, embodied in the Unilever sustainable living plan, marks him out as one of the most far-sighted business leaders of his generation.

“Paul’s vision, drive and performance focus, combined with his commitment to serving the best long-term interests of the company, have materially strengthened Unilever. He leaves a more agile and resilient company, well placed to win in this fast-changing, dynamic industry.”

Polman will stay on at the group to the middle of 2019 in order to help with the transition.

Unilever, which owns brands including Marmite and Dove, was forced to scrap plans of moving the HQ to Rotterdam after shareholders rebelled and argued that the move could have forced UK shareholders to sell their shares.

Had the move gone through, Unilever would no longer have been eligible for the FTSE 100 and would have lost its place on the London Stock Exchange.

Shares in the group (LON: ULVR) are trading +0.62% at 4.284,50 (0923GMT).