Harish Manwani to retire, Sanjiv Mehta to take over as CMD
13 April 2018
Hindustan Unilever has announced the retirement of Harish Manwani as non-executive chairman of the company following the forthcoming annual general meeting.
Sanjiv Mehta, the present CEO and managing director, will take over as chairman and manging director.
Manwani, 64, took over as non-executive chairman in 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,” said a company statement.
Joining the company as a management trainee in 1976, Manwani rose to become a director responsible for the personal products business in 1995.
Ten years later 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 COO of Unilever.
According to the company, 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 its business strategy,” it adds.
“Harish leaves behind a legacy that few will be able to match,” remarked Mehta. “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, who will now head the company, took over as the CEO and managing director of HUL in October 2013. A chartered accountant, he has completed his Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School.
Mehta has been with Unilever for 25 years and 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 – 2013).
The HUL board had discussed the succession plan concerning the chairman, before the Kotak Committee report on Corporate Governance was in the public domain (See: Sebi accepts Kotak Panel suggestion to split CEO, MD and chairman posts).
According to the company, it 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,” it added.