sanjiv mehta: HUL selects candidates to take over from Sanjiv Mehta | Jobs Recent


Hindustan Unilever, the country’s largest consumer goods maker, has shortlisted possible candidates for its chief executive officer position to take over from current chairman Sanjiv Mehta when he steps down.

Mehta, 62, has been leading the local unit of Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever since 2013 as managing director and CEO. He was finally reappointed for a five-year term, until October next year.

Early contenders for the corner office include Rohit Jawa and Priya Nair, executives close to the development said. Jawa, currently head of transformation for Unilever, is the older of the two and internally seen as a strong contender. Nair is the global marketing director of the parent company’s beauty and wellness segment.

There has been no official confirmation from HUL about the succession planning.

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A HUL spokesperson said the company “does not wish to respond to rumors or speculation at a time when Sanjiv is actively managing the business”.

HUL has established itself as a CXO factory over the years, the spokesperson said, adding, “This has been made possible through robust and ongoing leadership development and succession planning processes for our key talent and roles.”

At HUL, CEO succession has traditionally been a two-horse race. Internal candidates are identified for the position and properly trained by placing them in a variety of challenging roles with P&L responsibilities and global roles. Over the past few years, Jawa and Nair have completed advanced management programs at Harvard Business School.

Earlier this year, HUL’s parent company, Unilever, said it was creating five distinct businesses – beauty and wellness, personal care, home care, nutrition and ice cream – with each division fully responsible for its own strategy, growth and delivering profit on world level. Several global roles, including coordination roles, could become redundant as Unilever focuses on a category-led structure, executives said.

“Jawa is working closely with Nitin Paranjpe, who has taken on the new role of Chief Transformation Officer and Chief People Officer, leading business transformation and leading the HR function at Unilever,” the executive said.

Jawa, 57, who holds a post-graduate degree in marketing from the Faculty of Management, Delhi, joined HUL in 1988 as an executive trainee and has since held senior roles in sales, marketing, transformation and general management at Unilever. Before assuming his current role at the parent company, Jawa was executive vice president for North Asia and president of Unilever China, the company’s third largest market after the US and India. He has worked in India, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and China with extensive experience in the home care, personal care and food sectors.

Fifty-year-old Nair is also being groomed for the role, and if she gets it, she will become the first female CEO at HUL. Unilever focused on leadership and gender balance and reported gender balance at management level in 2019 and 2020.

A 1995 MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune, Nair joined HUL as a management trainee in the consumer insights team. Before moving to the parent company, she headed both the home care and beauty and personal care portfolios at HUL for the past decade. She spearheaded the launch of HUL’s rural mobile marketing initiative, ‘Kan Khajura Tesan’, which won three Golden Lion awards at the 2014 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Since Mehta joined the company in September 2013, HUL’s market capitalization has quadrupled to Rs 6.3 crore, adding over Rs 5 crore to its market value – more than the combined market capitalization of rivals Colgate, Dabur, Marico and Godrej Consumer Products. .

He oversaw an Indian business that overtook Brazil to become the second largest market after the US in terms of sales for Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever. Additionally, HUL’s operating margins are currently at an all-time high of 23.8%, jumping nearly 8 percentage points over the past nine years, even as sales have doubled.

However, the near-term operating environment remains a challenge for HUL, which is often considered a proxy for consumer sentiment in India. Growth in the country’s FMCG market has been muted with a 5% growth in value and a near 7% decline in volume in the quarter ended September.

“HUL’s core growth, premium premium and market development initiatives to build new categories and digital and e-com portfolio in beauty and personal care and food shows that HUL has the right to win. While rising inflation remains a cause for concern, management seems confident of maintaining margins at around 24%, given its ‘Symphony’ cost-cutting project under control,” Centra analyst Shirish Pardeshi wrote in a recent note to investors.



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