November 30, 2023

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Unilever taps outsider as new CEO backed by activist Peltz

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Unilever on Monday appointed Hein Schumacher to replace Alan Jope as chief executive from July 1 in a move welcomed by board member and activist shareholder Nelson Peltz.

One of the world’s largest consumer companies with more than 400 brands ranging from detergent to ice cream, Unilever has had a bumpy couple of years after failing to buy GSK’s consumer goods business.

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Schumacher, 51, joined Unilever last October as non-executive director and is currently the chief of Dutch dairy business FrieslandCampina.

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He previously worked for food retailer Royal Ahold NV and food producer H.J. Heinz.

Here are key developments at Unilever over the past year and a half:

NOVEMBER 18, 2021

Unilever agrees to sell its global tea business to CVC Capital Partners for 4.5 billion euros ($5.1 billion), concluding a process that has taken more than two years.

JANUARY 15, 2022

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) says it has rejected a 50-billion-pound ($68 billion) offer for its consumer goods business from Unilever.

JANUARY 17, 2022

Unilever signals it would still pursue a deal for GSK’s consumer business, calling it a “strong strategic fit,” but its shares slid more than 8%.

JANUARY 19. 2022

Unilever says it will not raise its offer for GSK’s consumer healthcare business from 50 billion pounds, effectively abandoning its pursuit.

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JANUARY 20, 2022

British fund manager Terry Smith criticizes the failed bid as a “near death experience” and urges Unilever to focus on strengthening performance.

JANUARY 23, 2022

A source tells Reuters that the hedge fund of activist investor Peltz, Trian Partners, has built a stake in Unilever, months after Peltz stepped down from the board of rival P&G .

JANUARY 24, 2022

Unilever shares rise 6% on reports of Peltz acquiring a stake.

JANUARY 25, 2022

Unilever unveils plans to cut about 1,500 management jobs and focus on five main product areas to boost growth.

MARCH 8, 2022

Unilever becomes the first major European food company to stop imports into and exports from Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

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APRIL 28, 2022

Unilever reports price increases of more than 8% for the first quarter and raises its cost inflation forecast for the second half of the year citing the Ukraine conflict.

MAY 31, 2022

Unilever announces the appointment of Nelson Peltz to its board as it engages in talks about strategy with the U.S. activist investor, who now holds around a 1.5% stake.

JUNE 30, 2022

Unilever sells its Ben & Jerry’s ice cream business in Israel to its local licensee aiming to smooth over a diplomatic dispute.

JULY 20, 2022

Peltz becomes non-executive director at Unilever.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2022

Unilever announces CEO Alan Jope will retire at the end of 2023.

OCTOBER 24, 2022

Peltz has approached former CEOs of consumer goods companies as candidates for the top job, two sources familiar with the matter tell Reuters.

Fabian Garcia, president of Unilever’s personal care division, is a leading internal contender, four sources familiar with the matter say.

CFO Graeme Pitkethly and Hanneke Faber, president of Unilever’s nutrition group, are also contenders, one source says.

JANUARY 30, 2023

Unilever appoints Hein Schumacher, boss of Dutch dairy business FrieslandCampina, to replace Alan Jope as chief executive from July 1. (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; editing by Jane Merriman and Jason Neely)


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