Unilever said CEO Alan Jope would retire at the end of 2023 , announcing the move less than a year after a bungled attempt to buy GSK’s consumer healthcare business , and two months after activist investor Nelson Peltz joined the board .
The British consumer pro ducts maker said on Monday its board would start a formal search for a successor to Jope, who took up his role at the start of 2019 , considering both internal and external candidates Unilever’s search begins at a ti me of soaring food and energy prices which are hitting house hold budgets and hurting consumer confidence . The company will be looking for a new CEO at the same time as rival Reckitt, the maker of Dettol products and Finish dish soap .
Unilever has had a rocky start to year after mounting three bids for the consumer health arm of Glaxo Smith Kline , -one for as much as 50 billion pound ( $ 53.14 billion ) .
The move was met with dis approval from shareholders , some of whom also criticised Unilever for prioritisingsusta inability over core growth . ” This may signal more welcome future change at Unilever , ” Tineke Frikee , fund manager at Unilever investor Waverton Asset Management , said . ” The unappealing plan to buy consumer healthcare from GlaxoS mithKline has tainted Mr Jope’s track record somewhat so a fresh start from a new CEO could convince investors Unilever’s momentum is trending upwards again . “
The company in January al so announced plans to cut about 1,500 management jobs and reshape its business to focus on five main product areas , days after it was revealed that Peltz , via his Trian Partners vehicle , had built a stake in Unilever Trian said in a statement that it was sorry to learn of Jope’s decision to retire .