Unilever to cut 1,500 management jobs worldwide
Unilever is cutting approximately 1,500 management jobs worldwide. The food group behind brands like Ola, Ben & Jerry's, and Knorr thinks it can better respond to consumer trends if the top for the company is organized differently. And that should improve performance.
Unilever will work with five different business units in the new set-up. There will be a clearly delineated ice cream branch, and a branch specifically focused on beauty and well-being. According to CEO Alan Jope, Unilever will be able to act faster if something changes in the market. He stressed that the company's continued growth remains a top priority and that the adjustments should help take advantage of Unilever's scale.
On Monday, Bloomberg reported based on insiders that the company could cut thousands of jobs. Unilever is not going that far now. But 15 percent of the senior management positions will disappear. Unilever will soon have 5 percent fewer less-experienced board members. It is unknown whether any jobs will be lost in the Netherlands. That will be looked into shortly, a spokesperson said. The group has about 27,000 employees in the Netherlands and about 150,000 worldwide.
CEO Jope is under increasing pressure to change the company's course because it is not growing as fast as competitors. Last week, the Briton said that he wanted to focus more on health and wants to cut underperforming business parts. Then it was also announced that Unilever made a failed offer of 50 billion pounds (about 60 billion euros) for the consumer division of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which makes Advil painkillers and Sensodyne toothpaste, among other things.
Unilever's takeover plan came under a lot of criticism from shareholders. They felt that Unilever could better focus on other things. It has now also become known that the American activist investor Nelson Peltz bought shares in Unilever. It is not exactly clear what he wants. But Peltz is known for wanting to make significant changes in large companies. This happened previously at the company behind Pepsi and the French food group Danone.
Reporting by ANP