Marmite maker Unilever cutting 1,500 jobs as part of massive shake-up

Business

Consumer goods giant Unilever has confirmed plans to cut 1,500 jobs under a shake-up of its global operations.

The maker of Dove soap-to-Marmite, which made the announcement after details were apparently leaked on Monday evening, said the cuts to senior and junior management roles were the result of a new, simpler organisational structure.

The company said it would now consist of five distinct divisions: Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Home Care, Nutrition, and Ice Cream.

The UK-based firm, which employs 149,000 worldwide – 6,000 of them in the UK and Ireland – was yet to confirm where the most job losses would be made but it said that factory operations were to be spared.

Alan Jope, Unilever chief executive
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Alan Jope, Unilever’s CEO of three years, is under pressure to grow investor returns which have lagged rivals

The move is seen as a response to shareholders’ concerns about performance in the business and followed a failed takeover bid for GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer healthcare division.

It also emerged on Monday that activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners had reportedly built a significant stake in the company amid the bid process last week that saw Unilever’s stock crumple.

Values only recovered when Unilever confirmed there would be no further offer beyond the £50bn that had been rejected by GSK on value grounds.

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The company’s chief executive, Alan Jope, said of the shake-up: “Our new organisational model has been developed over the last year and is designed to continue the step-up we are seeing in the performance of our business.

“Moving to five category-focused Business Groups will enable us to be more responsive to consumer and channel trends, with crystal-clear accountability for delivery. Growth remains our top priority and these changes will underpin our pursuit of this.”

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