Harish Manwani to retire as COO of Unilever
MUMBAI: Harish Manwani, currently chief operating officer, Unilever, will retire from Unilever on December 31, 2014, after more than 38 years of service. He will continue in his capacity as the non-executive chairman of Hindustan Unilever (HUL).
As COO of Unilever, Manwani’s key achievement has been his leadership of the global markets where he established and aligned the market clusters across the world behind a clear agenda, creating a better and more integrated go-to-market organisation. It has also allowed the business to be managed more dynamically, resource allocation to be done more efficiently across markets and best practices to be transferred more seamlessly. This has allowed Unilever to become increasingly more competitive in a tougher business environment.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman said, “Harish is an inspirational leader and leaves a remarkable legacy. He has been at my side in helping to drive the turnaround of Unilever, making this once again one of the most admired companies in the world. Over the last three years, especially as chief operating officer, Harish has been instrumental in the transformation of the company. Under his leadership we have seen a step-change in our go-to-market organisation and there has been a relentless focus on flawless execution globally. He has role-modelled the 4G sustainable growth model – Competitive, Consistent, Profitable and Responsible – which has become such a strong focal point for the markets.”
Manwani, who joined HUL as a management trainee in 1976, joined the HUL board of directors in 1995 as a director, personal products business. Under his able leadership, the personal products business grew from a nascent business to one of the key growth engines of the company. Subsequently he enjoyed success in many roles, covering both categories and markets, and across many parts of the world. This included stints as senior VP global hair care & oral care; president, home & personal care first of Latin America and later of North America.
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. He also became the first non-executive chairman of HUL and has overseen a period of sustained growth with the business more than doubling its size.
“I am deeply grateful to all those colleagues who have helped to make the last 38 years at HUL and Unilever so memorable and fulfilling. It has been a privilege to serve such a great company. Today, Unilever is in a strong position with a clear strategy and capabilities to drive long-term responsible growth. This makes it a good time for me to make this personal transition,” said Manwani.