LONDON Unilever has announced that former Nestle executive Paul Polman will serve as the new group chief executive. He will succeed Patrick Cescau, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Cescau will retire after serving the business for 35 years and leading the company for the past four years as chairman and then as the company’s first group chief executive.
“Four years ago we set out to transform Unilever and to get the business back on track. I believe that phase of work is largely complete, so now is exactly the right time to pass on the baton,” stated Cescau. “It has been an extraordinary privilege to lead such a great business. I leave with a real sense of pride in what has been achieved, but also great confident in the company’s ability to pursue the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Polman currently serves as executive vice president and zone director for the Americas at Nestle SA. He joined Nestle in 2006 as chief financial officer. Before that he had a 26-year career at Procter & Gamble, culminating as group president of Europe, a post he held from 2001 to 2005.
“Patrick has had an outstanding career. We are greatly in his debt for the transformation he has brought over the last four years. The performance of the business has improved markedly under his leadership. Liked and admired in equal measure, Patrick leaves a substantial record on which to build,” stated Michael Treschow, chairman of Unilever. “At the same time, we are very pleased to welcome Paul Polman. He is a great talent with significant international experience and an excellent track record. He has all the attributes necessary to build on Patrick’s achievements. We are delighted that he has agreed to join the business and to lead Unilever into the next stage of its development.”