Driving force behind Dove brand set to exit Unilever

Top Unilever marketer Jacqui Hill is understood to be leaving the company after high-level talks failed to result in a suitable post in the company.

Hill’s role as business director for household and personal care was axed when Unilever cut three of its top five positions in July. The move aims to streamline the UK marketing department.

The strategy is part of the “One Unilever” programme, launched in 2004, which is intended to create a leaner, more competitive business. The drive also includes plans to cut up to 350 further sales and marketing staff by the end of 2008. 

Other casualties of the restructure were marketing directors Anuj Lal and Lysanne Gray, who were responsible for ice cream and chilled foods respectively.

At the time of the cuts, Unilever said that it would offer all three people new positions, but it is understood that it has struggled to find a post for Hill, who is thought to want a reduced role due to family commitments. It is also thought she may be interested in leaving the company to work elsewhere as a non-executive director.

Hill is a Unilever veteran and was responsible for brands including Dove, Lynx, Impulse and Sunsilk. She has been widely credited with driving the transformation of Dove into a broad, personal-care brand and had been tipped for progression to the Unilever board.

A source at Unilever says that Hill has not yet left the company, is currently engag-ed on short-term work and that her future is undecided.

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