Unilever CEO Paul Polman © World Economic Forum/Flickr
Unilever has hired headhunters to help board members find a successor to long-serving CEO Paul Polman, Sky News reported.
Polman, 61, who has been in charge of the Anglo-Dutch company since 2009, is expected to step down from his €8.3 million-a-year position in about 18 months.
Unilever has hired executive search firm Egon Zehnder International to prepare for a change in leadership for one of the top positions in the food and beverage industry.
The search is currently centred on preparing the Unilever board for the transition process, but a succession will ultimately be led by company chairman Marijn Dekkers.
The change at the top comes as Unilever is seeking a buyer for its £6.5 billion spreads unit – which includes brand such as Flora and Stark – as part of a major structural review.
Earlier this year Unilever turned down a surprise $143 billion takeover bid from US food company Kraft Heinz. Polman responded by saying that ‘there should be a level playing field’ for takeovers of publicly listed companies.
Kraft-Heinz, which turns over less than half the amount of Anglo-Dutch Unilever, ‘amicably agreed’ to withdraw its interest after its initial offer was rebuffed.
A merger would have created the world’s second largest food company after Nestlé, with turnover in 2016 of more than €75 billion, FoodBev reported at the time.
Unilever is now expected to shake up its dual UK-Dutch corporate structure, by moving to a single headquarters in Holland.
During his time as CEO, Unilever as acquired a series of new brands, including: Tazo, Mãe Terra, Weis, Grom, and Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018