Unilever restructures to speed up innovation

Unilever has restructured its business categories to accelerate how quickly it rolls out new products in emerging markets.


It has expanded the number of categories from three to four, creating the “refreshment” division which includes its ice cream and drinks brands such as Lipton and Ben & Jerry’s (pictured).

The new category will be headed up by Kevin Havelock, currently executive vice president of Unilever’s ice cream business.

The personal care division which houses Unilever’s skincare, deodorants, hair and oral care brands such as Lynx and Dove will be led by current president of the Americas region Dave Lewis.

Antoine de Saint Affrique, currently executive vice president of skincare will take responsibility for the food division, which includes savoury, spreads and dressings brands such as Flora and Knorr.

All will report directly to CEO Paul Polman.

The FMCG company has also promoted Harish Manwani the current president of its Asia, Africa and CEE region to chief operating officer to drive speed-to-market and further simplification and efficiency measures.

He will take responsibility for all markets.

Paul Polman, Unilever CEO, says: “Unilever now has over half its turnover in the emerging markets, where, over the last 10 years, growth has been close to double digits. We have an opportunity to better support this footprint of the business, to keep our strong momentum, with a more globally aligned country and category organisation. Over the past few years we have seen a significant step-up in our innovation success rate and our speed to roll them out across markets. The new structure will further accelerate this.”

Unilever hopes to have the new structures will fully operational before the year-end.

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