NETHERLANDS – Consumer products multinational Unilever Plc has announced that Chief Executive Officer, Paul Polman is set to retire from the company and will be replaced by Alan Jope, who is president of the company’s beauty and personal care division effective 1 January 2019.

Polman will stay on in a supporting role, will officially retire as CEO and as a Board member on 31 December 2018 and leave the company in early July.

He was commended for delivering consistent top- and bottom-line growth ahead of its markets and providing a 290% total return to shareholders during his tenure.

Jope joined Unilever as a graduate marketing trainee in 1985, was appointed President of Unilever’s Personal Care business in September 2014 and has been on the leadership executive since 2011.

Prior to his appointment as Beauty & Personal Care head, Jope had been the President, Russia, Africa & Middle East since 2013.

He headed up Unilever’s North Asia business for four years, having also served in various leadership roles at the company, including global category leader for several of Unilever’s Foods categories, and President of Unilever’s Home & Personal Care business in North America.

Being a holder of a Bachelor of Commerce with honours from Edinburgh University, Scotland, Jope worked in a number of sales and marketing roles in the UK, Thailand, and the US.

Unilever Chairman Marijn Dekkers said: “After a rigorous and wide-ranging selection process, the Board is delighted to appoint Alan to the role.

Having worked for Unilever in a variety of senior management roles, Alan has a deep understanding and experience of our business, the industry, and the markets in which we operate.

He is a strong, dynamic and values-driven leader with an impressive track record of delivering consistent high-quality performance. The Board warmly welcomes Alan to the role and wishes him every success.”

Speaking on his appointment, Alan Jope said: “It will be a huge privilege to lead Unilever, a truly global company full of talented people, and brilliant brands.

Over the 30 years I have worked at Unilever, I have seen the many ways in which our brands improve people’s lives, positively impacting more than 2 billion citizens every day.

“Our global footprint includes strong positions in many important markets for the future and our focus will remain on serving our consumers, and our other multiple stakeholders, to deliver long-term growth and value creation.

His replacement is yet to be announced.

Polman’s retirement follows a barely two-months disagreement with the shareholders and in November this year, media had it that the consumer goods giant had started the process of seeking a successor to the CEO.

In May, Polman had indicated to the media that he was not in a hurry to leave the position, preferring an internal candidate for his replacement.

His departure also comes after the company backed down from plans to move its headquarters to the Netherlands.