Jope has been tasked with running Unilever’s biggest division, which includes brands such as Dove, Vaseline and Tresemme. The personal care category generated €4.2bn of Unilever’s €11.4bn turnover in the first quarter of 2014 and €20bn in annual sales.
Unilever recently outlined ambitions to make its personal care portfolio more premium as it looks for new ways to grow the division by refocusing on products that drive higher margin. The new direction is centred around the idea that “people are beautiful; rather than made beautiful” – a marketing approach that Dove in particular has used for some years.
A Unilever “lifer” like Lewis, Jope joined the company in 1985 and worked in a number of sales and marketing role in both London and the US. In 1995 he served as vice-president of its personal care business in Thailand before moving back to the US as vice-president of marketing for its Helene Curtis brand.
Before taking on his current role, Jope was chairman of Unilever in Greater China. He will take over from Lewis in October.