Lever Brothers UK chairman Aart Weijburg is leaving the division to take a new role as director of detergents at Hindustan Lever in India.
He replaces MS Banga, who is moving to the London office of parent company Unilever as senior vice-president for oral care and haircare.
Weijburg took charge of Lever’s UK operation nearly four years ago (MW February 17 1995) following the retirement of Andrew Seth, who later took up the role of non-executive chairman of consultancy The Added Value Company.
Seth’s departure came soon after the 1994 Persil Power fiasco, when Lever was forced to withdraw the product following Procter & Gamble’s evidence that it rotted clothes. Seth denied his retirement was linked to the fiasco.
Under Weijburg, Persil lagged behind P&G’s rival product Ariel until the launch of Persil Tablets in July this year. The new line reversed the decline and gave Persil market leadership for the first time since Power was withdrawn.
Weijburg, who takes up the post in February 1999, is also chairman of the fabric conditioners category in Europe. A successor will be announced shortly, according to the company.
Weijburg has worked for Unilever for 28 years, including spells as marketing director for Lever Netherlands and managing director for Sweden and Germany.