Sanjiv Mehta to take over as HUL Chairman as Harish Manwani retires

Sanjiv Mehta, who is currently CEO and Managing Director, will take over as the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL). This follows Harish Manwani’s decision to retire as Non-Executive Chairman of the company following the forthcoming Annual General Meeting. 

Manwani (64) took over as the Non-Executive Chairman of HUL in July 2005. He oversaw a period of sustained growth, with the business nearly tripling in size, and HUL reinforcing itself as one of India’s most admired companies. 

One of the most successful leaders of HUL, Manwani closely followed Unilever’s credo of ‘doing well by doing good’ throughout his career. He had joined HUL as a Management Trainee in 1976 and joined the HUL Board of Directors in 1995 as a Director responsible for the Personal Products business. In 2005, he was appointed to the Unilever Executive as President, Asia, Africa, Middle East, and the role later expanded to include Central and Eastern Europe. From 2011 to 2014, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Unilever. 

Manwani strongly believes that the challenges businesses face today, can only be addressed through the ‘4G sustainable growth model’ of competitive, consistent, profitable and above all, responsible growth. This model has become a strong focal point for HUL and is central to the Company’s business strategy. 

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Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and MD of HUL, said, “Harish leaves behind a legacy that few will be able to match. He has lived the values that make HUL such a great company. Through his passion, commitment and endless energy, he leaves a lasting impact on the business. I will personally miss his leadership and wise counsel.” 

Mehta took over as the CEO and Managing Director of HUL in October 2013. He has been with Unilever for 25 years and for the last 16 years has led businesses in different parts of the world. He has been Chairman and Managing Director of Unilever Bangladesh Limited (2002-06), Chairman and CEO of Unilever Philippines Inc. (2007 -08) and Chairman of Unilever - North Africa & Middle East (2008 – September 2013). 

Mehta is on the South Asia Advisory Board of Harvard Business School. He is also on the Indian Advisory Boards of Enactus, HSBC’s ‘Skills for Life’ and Xynteo’s ‘India 2022’ coalition. He is the Vice President of Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry and member of National Committees of CII and FICCI. 

The HUL Board had, as part of its periodic succession planning meetings, discussed the succession plan concerning the Chairman. This was before the Kotak Committee on Corporate Governance Report was in the public domain. The Company has taken note of SEBI’s recent decision to accept the recommendation of the Kotak Committee to separate the positions of the Chairman and the Managing Director from April 2020, for the top 500 companies by market capitalisation. The HUL Board will ensure compliance with the new regulation of separation of the two positions by April 2020.

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