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August 4, 2000
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Keki Dadiseth inches towards Unilever pinnacle, to head HPC biz

Former Hindustan Lever chairman Keki Dadiseth, currently Unilever's head of personnel (worldwide) and based in London, will head the home and personal care or HPC unit from January 1, 2001.

Keki Dadiseth: Ready to head Unilever's Rs 25-billion HPC business Unilever itself is being split into two units -- one for food, the other for HPC products. HPC accounts for nearly 50 per cent of Unilever's annual worldwide business of $ 50 billion. In other words, an Indian manager would now preside over a $ 25 billion business.

In a media statement, the company announced what it called "an evolution of its top management structure, creating improved alignment to fulfil its Path to Growth strategy. This stems from the review of Unileverís top organisation announced in February".

The main changes are the formation of two global divisions -- one for foods and one for HPC -- and a strengthening of the groupís global innovation capabilities.

According the statement, the key benefits arising from the changes would be:

  • Improved focus on Foods and HPC activities regionally and globally;
  • Acceleration of decision making and execution through tighter alignment of brand strategy with operations;
  • Strengthening innovation capability through more effective integration of research into the divisional structure and the creation of global innovation centres.

Unileverís local companies will remain as the key interface with customers and consumers, responding directly to local market needs. The drive for increased global synergies will continue.

Two Division directors will be appointed with executive authority and profit responsibility for worldwide operations. Each will head an executive for their respective divisions.

The following changes in Board member responsibilities will take place:

Patrick Cescau, currently financial director, will become foods director, responsible for Unileverís foods business worldwide, with effect from January 1, 2001. Until that time, he will lead the planning of the integration with Bestfoods and take immediate responsibility for Unileverís North American foods operations.

Alexander Kemner, currently foods category director, will support the integration process until his planned retirement in May 2001.

Keki Dadiseth will become HPC director with responsibility for HPC worldwide including DiverseyLever, effective January 1, 2001. Until that time he will focus on preparing plans for the implementation of the new structure.

Rudy Markham, currently strategy and technology director, has become finance director with immediate effect while retaining responsibility for Information Technology.

Clive Butler, currently HPC category director, will become corporate development director, effective January 1, 2001, embracing corporate strategy and research, and corporate relations.

The role of the executive committee remains unchanged, it is responsible for the overall results and performance of Unilever. Similarly, the responsibilities of Andrť van Heemstra, Charles Strauss and Roy Brown are unaffected.

Unilever Chairman Antony Burgmans said: ďOur 1996 reorganisation released much energy in Unilever but the business has continued to evolve making this review of our structures timely. These changes have been specifically designed to ensure effective execution of our Path to Growth strategy.Ē

  • The introduction of division directors will align brand strategy with operations. Regional Presidents will remain responsible for profitability in their respective regions and will become members of either the Foods Executive or the HPC Executive.
  • Most research and innovation will be integrated into the divisional structure. A small number of Global Innovation Centres will be progressively developed and will inter-link with Research and the worldwide brand innovation network.
  • In developing and emerging markets some of the boundaries between the Business Groups will be re-drawn. Ice cream and Frozen Foods activities will be formed into a discrete global business unit within the Foods Division.


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