Global consumer products giant Unilever has announced a raft of leadership changes as part of an action plan to target faster growth. And at the top of those changes is the promotion of Fernando Fernandez who becomes its new Chief Financial Officer.
Following a “thorough internal and external search process”, Fernandez moves up from President of Unilever’s Beauty & Wellbeing Business Group. He replaces Graeme Pitkethly, who announced his decision to retire from the company earlier this year.
Fernando’s appointment is effective 1 January when he also joins the board.
Prior to his current role running one of Unilever’s fastest growing Business Groups, Fernandez was responsible for Unilever’s business in Latin America.
This followed a period leading Unilever Brazil between 2011 and 2019. Earlier in his career, he led Unilever Philippines and, before that, Unilever’s Global Hair Care category.
CEO Hein Schumacher said: “Fernando has had a very impressive track record throughout his Unilever career, in a variety of financial, marketing and general management roles. His deep financial and business experience, strategic acumen and leadership qualities will be critical in helping to drive the step-up in Unilever’s performance that we are all determined to deliver. I look forward to working with him to deliver the action plan we have set out today to drive our growth and realise our potential.”
At the same time, Unilever also announced other leadership changes across the group. Heading that list is Priya Nair, who has been appointed President Beauty & Wellbeing, replacing Fernandez. She moves up from her current position as Chief Marketing Officer Beauty & Wellbeing.
Meanwhile, Esi Eggleston Bracey, General Manager Personal Care North America and Head of Country US, has been appointed to the new role of Chief Growth and Marketing Officer.
As mentioned, the company also unveiled an action plan, and it said it’s targeting faster growth with a focus first on its 30 ‘Power Brands’ that represent 70% of its turnover.
This focus will include innovation and investment with it “selectively optimising its portfolio, but with no major or transformational acquisitions being planned”.
It’s also targeting “productivity and simplicity”, with a focus on building back its gross margin, and emphasising its sustainability commitments. And it wants to build a performance culture, the management changes being part of this.
It expects the changes to lead to underlying sales growth of 3-5% with modest margin expansion.
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