Unilever announced that Patrick Cescau, the company’s first group chief executive, will retire at the end of 2008 after serving with Unilever for 35 years.
“Four years ago, we set out to transform Unilever and to get the business back on track,” Cescau says. “I believe that phase of work is largely complete, so now is exactly the right time to pass on the baton.”
Paul Polman, current executive vice president and zone director for the Americas at Nestlé SA, will succeed Cescau. Previously, Polman served as chief financial officer for Nestlé in 2006. He also held the title of group president, Europe, at Procter & Gamble from 2001–2005.
“Patrick has had an outstanding career. We are greatly in his debt for the transformation he has brought about over the last four years,” says Michael Treschow, chairman of Unilever. “The performance of the business has improved markedly under his leadership. Liked and admired in equal measure, Patrick leaves a substantial record on which to build.”