More big changes could be on their way at Unilever as CEO Alan Jope (below), who has presided over a sagging share price and a furore over Unilever’s “purpose-led” marketing, has announced his retirement at the end of 2023 after five years at the helm.
Unilever was derided by fund manager Terry smith among others for seemingly putting “purpose before profit,” most notably by. discussing the purpose of Hellmann’s mayonnaise – sandwiches and salads according to Smith.
Activist investor Nelson Peltz, who has joined the Unilever board, says he looks forward to working with Jope in the interim although other shareholders might not be so patient. Such extended departures tend to be cut short.
Thee likeliest outcome for Unilever is some sort of break-up. Kraft spun off Mondelez some years back although Mondelez took most of the good bits, leaving what is now Kraft Heinz with a bunch of under-performing brands. GSK spun off its consumer brands into Haleon although the two have already fallen out over historic Zantac legal claims.