Unilever named Geneviève Berger, PhD, MD, as its chief research and development officer. Berger, who is currently professor of medicine at Pierre and Marie Curie University and at La Pitié-Salpétrière Teaching Hospital in Paris, will report directly to group chief executive, Patrick Cescau.
"I am extremely pleased to be able to welcome Geneviève to my team as an executive member," said Cescau. "The contribution she has made to the business as a nonexecutive was outstanding and served to demonstrate to us how much more she could achieve in a full-time capacity. She will bring to Unilever her strong interdisciplinary background, as well as her expertise in managing science."
In her new role, Berger will be the functional leader for research and development in Unilever, and will directly lead all the resources and major laboratories dedicated to the company's focus on scientific discovery. She will be responsible for Unilever's Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) as well as advising the executive team on all matters of science and technology.
"I am delighted to be joining Unilever in this exciting role," said Berger. "During my time as a nonexecutive director, I have been hugely impressed by the Unilever's commitment to science and to R&D in particular, but felt that the contribution that I could make was limited by time. I am hugely grateful to Patrick for giving me the opportunity to lead the function and to use my knowledge on a full-time basis."
"In the short time that she was on the board, her contribution to our understanding of scientific and technical matters was exceptional, and I am sure that she will be better placed to serve Unilever by being a full-time member of Patrick's executive team," said Michael Treschow, chairman of Unilever.
Berger, 53, stepped down from the boards of Unilever plc and Unilever N.V., where she was a nonexecutive director, and began her new position at the beginning of July.