Unilever has announced the appointment of current FrieslandCampina chief executive, Hein Schumacher, as the company’s next CEO, effective 1 July 2023.
Schumacher will replace Alan Jope, who announced his decision to retire last September, less than a year after a failed attempt by Unilever to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer healthcare business and just months after activist investor Nelson Peltz joined the company’s board.
Peltz, cited by Reuters, said he strongly supports Schumacher “as our new CEO and look[s] forward to working closely with him to drive significant sustainable stakeholder value”.
Schumacher became a non-executive director of Unilever in October 2022. He has served as CEO of FrieslandCampina since 2018, and the supervisory board for the Dutch dairy company has begun the process of selecting his successor.
The board’s chairman, Sybren Attema, said: “Hein successfully guided FrieslandCampina through an important transformative period for the company. In often very challenging circumstances, he led the company fully focused on making a sustainable, future-proof FrieslandCampina. It is with regret that we see him leave, and we wish him all the best in his new position.”
Prior to joining FrieslandCampina as CFO in 2014, Schumacher also worked for HJ Heinz for over a decade, holding roles across the US, Europe and Asia. He began his career in a finance post at Unilever.
Nils Andersen, Unilever’s chairman, 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.”
Andersen continued: “He has exceptional strategic capabilities, proven operational effectiveness, and strong experience in both developed and developing markets”.
Schumacher said: “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.”
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