Unilever has 3 Indians for the first time in its global leadership team

March 15, 2019

Unilever appoints NitinParanjpe as COO, raises HUL CMD Sanjiv Mehta as President of the company’s South Asia operations.

Brilliant Indian executives continue to climb the ladder of leadership in Unilever with the Anglo-Dutch company recentlyupgrading NitinParanjpe, who heads Unilever’s foods and refreshments business, as its Chief Operating Officer (COO), the second Indian after Harish Manwani to hold the rank.

Concurrently, Unilever included Sanjiv Mehta, CMD of Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), into its Unilever Leadership Executive team (ULE), ranking him the third Indian in the exclusive 11-member body that runs the €51 billion FMCG maker.. In addition to being part of the Unilever leadership team and CMD of Hindustan Unilever, Mehta will hold the position of President of the company’s South Asia operations.Mehta will work in conjointly with Paranjpeand Leena Nair, Chief Human Resource Officer.

ULE is Unilever’s top executive team which includes C-Suite executives such as Heads Of Finance, HR, R&D, Marketing And Supply Chain, besides chiefs of key markets such as Europe, North America and North Asia.

“Today’s increasingly fragmented consumer, channel and media environment requires us to operate with more speed and agility than ever before. With his deep knowledge and experience of our markets, Nitin is ideally placed to work with me and the Unilever Leadership Executive to drive our performance and help deliver our growth ambitions,” Unilever CEO Alan Jope said in a statement.

Previiously, Paranjpe was MD and chief executive of HUL from 2008 to 2013, before taking the position as a President of Unilever’s foods and refreshments division. Hanneke Faber, president of Europe, will replace Paranjpe as president of foods and refreshment.

SandipGhose, a former MD of Nepal Lever, a unit of Hindustan Unilever, and now Executive President of Birla Corp., recollectsParanjpe as a people’s person.

“He has been a very mature professional. I remember there was a massive protest in Kerala against HUL products and he happened to be working there. The way he handled the situation showed his ability to be level-headed during a crisis. When it comes to working with people, he is not someone who would be brash,” Ghose said.

In his prime role as a president, Paranjpe led the company’s investments in the foods business and was responsible for growing its business in ice cream, tea and foods categories.

The food segment accounts for 40% of Unilever’s business. Though its revenue has dropped from €22.44 billion in 2017 to €20.22 billion in 2018, its working income from the segment has ascended from €8.85 billion to €12.53 billion.

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