Unilever to merge home, personal care and food into one division

LONDON - Unilever has unveiled plans to simplify the structure of its business by merging its Home & Personal Care and Foods divisions to form a single category it hopes will better compete in developing countries.

A spokesman for the FMCG company said the marketing budgets for the two categories would remain separate, although he declined to give details on each budget. Last year the company spent a total of 5bn Euros on marketing its products.

No job cuts are anticipated as a result of this restructure. Unilever is still in the process of cutting 20,000 jobs as part of the Unilever One streamlining project, which was announced last August and is scheduled to be completed in 2010.

The company, whose brands include Vaseline and PG Tips, is implementing the changes in an attempt to spur strategic growth in developing markets. It will manage its Central and Eastern Europe divisions as part of an enlarged region including Asia and Africa as they face 'the same challenges and opportunities'. Western Europe will be a standalone region.

Harish Manwani, currently president, Asia Africa, will lead the Asia, Africa and Central & Eastern Europe operation.

Vindi Banga, president of Foods, will also assume the role of president, Home & Personal Care, when Ralph Kugler, the current president of Home & Personal care, steps down at the AGM in May after 29 years with Unilever.

In another management move, Kees van der Graaf, who has been with the company for 32 years, will retire from the Unilever board and his role as president, Europe, also at the AGM. He will be replaced by Doug Baillie.



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