- FMCG Giant Unilever appointed Danish businessman Nils Andersen as chairman, hoping that his consumer goods and logistics expertise would help the group tackle a downturn in its biggest markets and reinvigorate its food business.
On Wednesday, Unilever appointed Danish businessman Nils Andersen as chairman, hoping that his consumer goods and logistics expertise would help the group tackle a downturn in its biggest markets and reinvigorate its food business.
Since 2015, Andersen, a non-executive director on Unilever’s board, joins Scotsman Alan Jope who took over as CEO earlier this year. He substitutes for Marijn Dekkers, who remains as chairman after more than three years.
Joe wants to carve out more market share for foods from Unilever but is facing a challenge in low-growth categories such as tea, bouillon, mayo, and condiments. In the last two years, Unilever has twice changed domestic food leadership, but sales remain silenced in the business known for Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Magnum ice cream.
He is also facing signs of a slowdown in India and China, two of the biggest markets in the group. The Sino-U.S. trade wars and sluggish domestic consumption weigh on China’s economy and erratic monsoons have curbed India’s rural spending.
After leading shipping giant AP Moller Maersk and Carlsberg, Andersen, 61, joined Unilever.
At Maersk, where he served as CEO between 2007 and 2016, he was credited with bringing customer-centricity and meeting global growth targets, but during his tenure, the stock price dropped a third and the board agreed to guide the old company in a new direction.
The share price doubled in the two years before moving to Maersk at Carlsberg, where he ran the company since 2001.
His predecessor at Unilever, Marijn Dekkers, who is the founder and chairman of Novalis LifeSciences investment and consulting company, will remain as a non-executive director on the board.
Last year, Dekkers became a shareholder ire aim to seek to merge the dual headquarters structure of the Lipton Tea Maker in Rotterdam, leaving London.
The project, formulated with former Dutch CEO Paul Polman from Unilever, was scrapped after investors resisted the change on concerns that one of UK’s best-known companies could be excluded from the FTSE 100 index benchmark.
So far this year, Unilever’s shares have risen 12 percent, outpacing the 9 percent growth of the larger FTSE 100. The stock increased by 0.6 percent in afternoon trading at 4,622 pence.
Andersen is currently a member of Unilever’s audit committee, serving as chairman of Akzo Nobel NV, a Dutch paint company, and a private Danish retailer, Salling Group.
He intends to step down from his roles at BP and Salling Group A/S in March 2020, the company said on Wednesday