Unilever restructures organisational model, appoints Nitin Paranjpe as new CPO

Unilever has made some shuffles in its executive leadership, and as a result, about 1500 senior and junior managers will lose their jobs, globally


Unilever is doing away with its existing matrix organisational structure. In doing so, it has made some new appointments and reshuffled existing leadership. In this restructuring activity, Nitin Paranjpe, who held the portfolio of chief operating officer (COO) at Unilever, has now been given the new roles of chief transformation officer and chief people officer. As per the official announcement, in this role, Paranjpe will lead the business transformation function and the HR function, globally.

Paranjpe is a senior leader at Unilever, who has held various portfolios as part of the global leadership team and has also served as the CEO of Hindustan Unilever for more than five years.

Like many tenured senior leaders in the Company, Paranjpe joined Unilever as a management trainee in 1987 and since then he has been with Unilever in various roles such as sales and brand manager. From being a management trainee to an area sales manager, to a regional manager and category head, Paranjpe went on to become the CEO of Hindustan Unilever in 2008.

In 2013, Paranjpe moved to a global role as the president-home care business and member of the Unilever Leadership Executive. After serving in this role for more than four years, he became the president of the food and refreshment business. In 2019, Unilever appointed Paranjpe as the COO, a role he has successfully essayed for the last three years.

Before Paranjpe, Leena Nair was the global CHRO at Unilever. Nair has moved on to join Chanel, as its global CEO. It is interesting to see that an HR professional has gone on to become a business leader, while a former CEO has taken her place.

As part of the new organisational structure, which was being designed for the last one year, Unilever will now be organised around five business groups i.e, beauty & wellbeing, personal care, home care, nutrition, and ice cream. Each business group will be fully responsible and accountable for its strategy, growth, and profit delivery, globally.

To enable Unilever to benefit from its scale and global capabilities, the five business groups will be supported by Unilever Business Operations, which will provide the technology, systems, and processes to drive operational excellence across the business. A lean Unilever Corporate Centre will continue to set Unilever’s overall strategy.

“Our new organisational model has been developed over the last year and is designed to continue the step-up we are seeing in the performance of our business. Moving to five category-focused business groups will enable us to be more responsive to consumer and channel trends, with crystal-clear accountability for delivery. Growth remains our top priority and these changes will underpin our pursuit of this,” explains Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever.

Due to the organisational restructuring process, Unilever will also see reduction of 1,500 roles, globally, which will include 15 per cent senior-management roles and five per cent junior-management roles. As of now, the Company has confirmed that there will be no impact on the workers and employees working in factories.

Other leadership changes that we will see as part of organisational restructuring include, Fernando Fernandez, EVP Latin America, being appointed as president – beauty & wellbeing, which includes hair care, skin care, as well as vitamins, minerals and supplements, and Unilever Prestige; Fabian Garcia, president, North America, will be appointed as president- personal care, responsible for skin cleansing, deodorants, and oral care; Hanneke Faber, president – foods & refreshment, will now be president – nutrition, which will be home to scratch cooking, healthy snacking, functional nutrition, plant-based meat, and food solutions; Matt Close, EVP- ice cream, will take on the role of president – ice cream, a Business Group in its own right.

These appointments will come in effect on April 1, 2022.

Other leadership changes include the appointment of Reginaldo Ecclissato, chief supply chain officer, as the lead for supply chain and Unilever business operations as chief business operations officer. Sunny Jain, president – beauty & personal care, has decided to leave Unilever to set up an investment fund in technology megatrends.

Other members of the Unilever Leadership Executive will retain their positions including Sanjiv Mehta, who will retain executive leadership of Hindustan Unilever.

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