Unilever: Who, Where, How Much?

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The company is a joint venture of Unilever NV (The Netherlands) and Unilever PLC (UK), the parent companies. Since 1930, the two companies have operated as one, linked by a series of agreements. They trade separately but have one board of directors. Unilever’s corporate centres are London and Rotterdam.

  • Unilever PLC

Unilever House Blackfriars London EC4P 4BQ

  • Unilever NV

Weena 455 3013 AL Rotterdam The Netherlands Postal Address P O Box 68 London EC4P 4BQ Tel: +44 (0) 20 7 822-5252 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7 822-5951 Postal Address P O Box 760 3000 DK Rotterdam Tel: +31 (0) 10 217 4000 Fax: +31 (0) 10 217 4798

Web site: www.unilever.com

Major shareholders (10 Mar 1997)

  1. The Leverhulme Trust and the Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust, jointly (5%)
  2. Prudential Corpn plc (5%)
  3. Holding in Unilever plc; In addition, NV Elma and United Holdings Ltd each hold 50% of the deferred shares of Unilever plc and 50% each of the ‘special shares’ of Unilever NV. NV Elma is a subsidiary of Unilever NV and United Holdings is a subsidiary of Unilever plc [22].

Executive Committee

2008 Non-executive directors

  • Byron Grote - Grote's biography[5] describes how he joined Standard Oil in 1976. In the 1980's, Standard Oil was aquired by BP and Grote's has served in a variety of promonent positions (such as Commercial Vice President, Commercial General Manager & Deputy Chief Executive Officer for BP Exploration, Group Treasurer and Chief Executive Officer of BP Finance, Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production). He joined the Board of BP plc as Chief Executive of BP Chemicals in 2000 and was appointed to his current position of Chief Financial Officer in 2002. His biography continues to report that 'Byron has also served as Vice-Chairman of the UK Government’s Public Services Productivity Panel and Chairman of the Chemicals Innovation and Growth Team. He has also sat on advisory panels around the world, assisting the UK Government’s Asia Task Force, the Governor of Guangdong Province in China and the Johnson School of Management at Cornell'.
  • Charles E Golden[6] (Eli Lilly and Company - the U.S, Pharmaceutical company which introduced Prozac [7]), Elanco Animal Health Group, Clarian Health Partners, Hillenbrand Industries, Vice President of General Motors and Chairman and Managing Director of Vauxhall Ltd, member of the National Advisory Board of JP Morgan Chase [8]
  • Jean-Cyril Spinetta - Chairman & CEO Air France [9]. Before joining Air France in 1997, Spinetta was involved with the French Ministry of Education, Council of State and the European Commission. He was also Official representative to the Government´s Secretariat, Head of the Information department for the Prime Minister, Chief of staff for Michel Delebarre, who was Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, Minister of Social Affairs and Employment and Minister of Planning and Development, Housing and Transport. He was also Advisor to the French President on industrial matters and then appointed "Préfet". Spinetta joined Unilever in May 2006 and resigned his position in September 2007[10].
  • Mr Kees J Storm[11](Executive Board of Directors of AEGON, one of the world's largest insurance groups, also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of various other international companies, such as Koninklijke Wessanen, a multinational food company based in the Netherlands, specializing in marketing, distribution and production of health products[12]; and of KLM, the airline carrier of the Netherlands.

Circa 2002

Unilever is likely to end the year 2002 with one of the highest paid boards of any company in the index of Britain’s 100 largest companies. In 2001, six of its top executives were paid more than £1m.

Leading the Committee are the chairmen of Unilever PLC and Unilever NV, the parent companies. Other members are the global division directors for Unilever Bestfoods and Home and Personal Care; the Corporate Development Director; the Finance Director and the Personnel Director.

  • Niall FitzGerald Chairman, Unilever PLC and Vice Chairman, Unilever NV(since 1996)

Nationality: Irish, Age 56, FitzGerald is one of the UK’s most influential businessmen, with many friends in the political arena.

  • Antony Burgmans Chairman, Unilever NV and Vice Chairman, Unilever PLC(since 1999)

Nationality: Dutch, Age: 54

Member of the board of commissioners of the ABN AMRO Bank NV (which made headlines last year because of their investments in Burma) and member of the international advisory board of Allianz AG (a global insurance company). Burgmans is member of the ERT.

He also chaired a CEO Panel at the World Water Forum in March 2000 (the Water Forum has been widely criticised for being an elitist gathering of high-positioned people talking about global water problems, in the absence of many vital stakeholders). Burgmans is said to have a keen interest in Dutch painters of the 16th and 17th centuries and is chairman of the Bredius Museum in The Hague

Corporate Development Director (since January 2001) Clive Butler is also non-executive director of Lloyds TSB Group plc.

Global Division Director: Foods (since January 2001)

  • Keki Dadiseth (55) Global Division Director: Home and Personal Care (since January 2001)

The former Hindustan Lever (‘Unilever’s Indian Jewel’) chairman Dadiseth is also non-executive director of The Indian Hotels Company (the largest hotel chain in India).

Mr. Dadiseth is (February news, 2000) a member of the National Council and Chairman of the Fast Moving Consumer Goods Committee of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), and a member of the Managing Committees of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). He is also a Director of the Indian School of Business (ISB), a management school being set up at Hyderabad in affiliation with the Wharton and Kellogg management schools, USA [26].

Regional Presidents

The regional presidents are responsible for delivering business results in their respective regions. Regional presidents report to either the director of the Foods division or the director of the Home and Personal Care division.

Neil Beckerman Diego Bevilacqua Jeff Fraser Tex Gunning Ralph Kugler Anton Lenstra Harish Manwani Robert Polet John Rice Manfred Stach Charles B. Strauss Çetin Yüceulug Simon Clift Anthony Simon

Advisory Directors

The advisory directors are the principal external presence in Unilever’s government. The advisory directors comprise a majority of the members of certain key committees of the board. They attend the key quarterly meetings, committee meetings, conferences of the directors and the Executive Committee, as well as meetings with the Chairmen.

Charles R Shoemate (61) Director CIGNA Corporation (an insurance company), International Paper Company and Texaco Inc. Shoemate was president, chairman and CEO of Bestfoods at the time of its acquisition by Unilever

Lord Simon of Highbury (61) Lord Simon, former Chairman of BP, was appointed Minister for European Trade and Competition by Tony Blair in May 1997. When he was appointed Minister he resigned from directorships at Grand Metropolitan, Deutsche Bank, Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ) and Allianz AG Holding. He put his shares in all these companies into a 'blind trust', except for BP, selling their shares for £2.25 million. He went to Cambridge University. He left the Cabinet in July 1999, frustrated with the slow pace of Britain's advance towards a single European currency [27].

Lord Brittan was not only an adviser to Tony Blair, he also became an adviser to European Commission President Prodi. Lord Simon was vice president of the European Round Table (ERT), a non-executive director of the Bank of England, Rio Tinto and Grand Metropolitan, and a member of the advisory boards of Deutsche Bank and Allianz. In addition, Lord Simon is a member of the Advisory Board of LEK Consulting (a ‘leading international strategy firm that assists the world's major companies in achieving superior returns for shareholders’), and a member of the European Advisory Board of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (a ‘global financial services firm and a market leader in securities, asset management and credit services’).

Lord Leon Brittan of Spennithorne (61)

Lord Brittan was a Member of the European Commission from 1989 to 1999, also serving as Vice President. He is also former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Minister of Trade and Industry in the UK (under Thatcher) and can be labelled as a very important Thatcherite politician.

Brittan's career moves since he left Brussels in September 1999: Lord Brittan became Vice-Chairman of the investment bank UBS Warburg just three months after quitting as Trade Commissioner, and joined the London-based international law consultancy Herbert Smith on 1 January 2000, as part-time consultant on World Trade Organisation (WTO) issues. A few months later he was appointed Advisory Director at Unilever.

On 7 February 2001, he became Chairman of the LOTIS Committee of International Financial Services London (IFSL), a lobby group representing the UK financial industry. Lord Brittan is currently busy lobbying the European Commission on talks over liberalisation of services in the WTO (GATS 2000).

‘When I was the EU Commissioner responsible for trade negotiations I invited business leaders to become more involved. [...] Now that I am in the private sector myself, I am especially pleased to take on the Chairmanship of the high-level LOTIS Group.’ - Lord Brittan of Spennithorne

After taking up his position as Chair of the LOTIS Committee, Brittan wrote that ‘the business voice must make itself heard above the noise being generated from other sources threatening the ongoing health of the system.’ While acknowledging that ‘the more responsible and serious minded [...] non-governmental organisations have staked a claim in the international debate’ on ‘globalisation, the international institutions and the WTO in particular’, and saying that ‘we [his corporate audience] cannot afford to ignore them’, he asserted that: ‘[w]hat we have to do is to take the debate on and win it’ [28-29].

Collomb is a member of the Allianz Supervisory board, Director of Credit Commercial de France (CCF), member of the Banque de France advisory board, CEO of Lafarge SA (Lafarge is a world leader in building materials), and Director of Total Fina Elf. Collomb is also a member of the European Round Table (ERT), as well as member of several international business associations and councils. Bertrand Collomb as been elected chairman for the European Union of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) for the year 2000

Fanjul is chairman of Hidroelectrica del Cantabrico, one of Spain's leading utilities which provides electricity and gas and also has ventures in cable TV and telecoms. In addition, he is a non-executive director of Ericsson SA, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria BBVA. He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of Marsh & McLennan and of the Chubb Corporation. He was the founder chairman and CEO of REPSOL (an independent oil company) [30].

Claudio X. Gonzales has been President of the Mexican Council of Businessmen (CMHN) and special adviser of the Mexican President. He is chairman and CEO of Kimberly-Clark de Mexico, director of Kellogg Company, director of General Electric Company (USA), Banco National de Mexico and Telefonos de Mexico.

Hilmar Kopper (65) Kopper is Director and CEO of the Deutsche Bank and DaimlerChrysler AG. He is a director of Xerox Corp and member of the Akzo Nobel NV, Bayer AG and Solvay SA supervisory boards.

Senator George J. Mitchell (67) Former member of the American Senate George J. Mitchell served as Chairman of the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland in the mid-1990s. He is partner in the lawyer’s office Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand. Mitchell is a director of Federal Express Corp., UNUM Insurance corp., Xerox Corp. and Staples Inc.

Onno Ruding (61) Former Dutch Minister of Finances (1982-1998). Ruding is president and vice-chairman of Citibank. He is also a director of Corning Inc., Pechiney S.A. and RTL Group, and member of the Robeco Groep advisory board.

Frits Fentener van Vlissingen (67) Member, Executive Board SHV Holdings NV 1967-1975, Chairman 1975-1984 (SHV Holdings NV is active in LPG, Food Non-Food, Recycling and Venture Capital); Managing Director, Flint Holdings NV since 1984; Member, Supervisory Board, Amsterdam-Rotterdam Bank 1974-1991, ABN AMRO Bank NV since 1991 and Akzo Nobel NV since 1984; The Family Fentener van Vlissingen is one of the wealthiest families in the Netherlands.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey (58) The only woman holding a high position at Unilever. She was formerly UK Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Minister for Overseas Development (under Thatcher). The Baroness is currently Director of Freeplay Energy Ltd (manufacturer of battery-free technologies, self-powered radios and torches), Landell Mills (Landell Mills provides worldwide research and consultancy services in the food, agribusiness, packaging and industrial sectors) and Director of Ashanti Goldfields Company Ltd (an African-based international gold mining and exploration group with seven producing mines in four African countries).

Wim Dik Wim Dik is currently a Professor at the Technical University in Delft, The Netherlands. He is expert on the subject ‘Management of ICT-oriented organisations’. Prior to this, Wim Dik had a distinguished career in both the private and public sector. From 1964-88 he worked for Unilever, ultimately attaining the position of Chairman of the Board for Unilever's Dutch operations. During this period, he also served for 2 years (1981-2) as Minister for Foreign Trade in the Dutch Government. From 1988 to 1998, he was Chairman of the Board and CEO of Royal PTT Nederland and, following the separation of post and telecoms in 1998, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Koninklijke KPN NV until March 2000.

Wim Dik also holds the following positions (by the date of 15 January 2001); Member of the Board of Directors of ABN AMRO Bank; President of the Supervisory Board of Netherlands Board of Tourism; Member of the Board of Directors of Commercial General & Norwich Union; Member of the Board of Directors of Drie Mollen Holding BV; Chairman of the Board of Directors of Holland Casino; Member of the Supervisory Board of Carré Theatre, Amsterdam; Chairman of the Board of Directors of Van Gansewinkel Group; Member of the Board of Directors TNT Post Group; Member of the Board of Directors of Galileo International Group.

CMG plc, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) group, has appointed Professor Wim Dik to its Group Board in the capacity of non-executive director as of 16 May 2001 [31].

Senior Corporate Officers

Unilever’s senior corporate officers are responsible for ensuring that board meetings and board committee meetings are supplied with the information they need.

Jos Westerburgen Stephen Williams Jeffrey Allgrove James Duckworth Jan Haars

Most of the information about Unilever's members stems from the Unilever Annual Report and/or the official Unilever web site: www.unilever.com/unilevertoday/companystructure. The other sources used, can be found in the reference list at the bottom of this document.

--Subsidiaries== Unilever operates numerous local companies. The Directory of Multinationals lists over 300 companies in 70 different countries [32]. Few international corporations have such a decentralised style. Unilever claims ‘to have deep roots in many countries’ and depicts itself as ‘a truly multi-local multinational’.

The local operating companies are organised into ten regional groups (which are either part of the global food division -Unilever Bestfoods Regions- or part of the global HPC division). A brief presentation of these regions (to get a clearer picture of Unilever’s global organisational structure), will be followed by an overview of 4 major subsidiaries wholly owned by Unilever (because it’s too much work to list all the subsidiaries!).


Home & Personal Care Regions

Home & Personal Care, North America

HPCNA was formed in 1977 by integrating Lever Brothers Company, Chesebrough-Pond’s and Helene Curtis. HPCNA has major business and manufacturing facilities across the US and Canada.

Home & Personal Care, Europe

HPCE combines 2 businesses: Lever Faberge, operating in Western Europe, and Unipath, operating on a global basis. HPCE has its HQ in Waterloo, near Brussels, and operates in 16 European countries with 19 factories and 7 development laboratories.

Latin America

The Latin America region has well-established operations in all main markets. HPC businesses throughout the region have leading shares in the laundry, personal wash, hair, deodorant, skin and oral categories.

East Asia Pacific

Unilever’s top selling brands in the region are Dove, Sunsilk, Pond’s, Close-UP, Omo/Persil, Rexona, Lynx/Axe, Cornetto, Lipton Yellow Label, Continental.

Africa, Middle East & Turkey

Top brands in the region are Omo, Lipton, Knorr, Royco, Lux, Surf, Sunlight, Dinor, Close-up, Key and Signal.

Central Asia & China

Unilever established companies across Central Asia. Top selling brands in this highly populated region including Lux, Wheel, Lifebuoy, Surf, Rin, Omo, Fair&Lovely, Sunsilk, Hazeline, Close-up, Zhonghua and Pepsodent. In foods, Lipton, Brooke Bond and Walls are the best selling brands.

Unilever Bestfoods Regions

Unilever Bestfoods, North America

Unilever Bestfoods, North America combines the Lipton and Bestfoods business of both the United States and Canada. The group provides consumers with a vast range of products in categories such as tea, salad dressings and margarine and spreads. Unilever Bestfoods, North America is headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Unilever Bestfoods, Europe

Unilever Bestfoods Europe, headquartered in Rotterdam, stretches right across the continent incorporating countries from both western and eastern Europe. Unilever’s best-performing categories include Spread, Savoury, Dressings and Leaf Tea. Top-selling brands in Europe include Lipton, Knorr, Bertolli, Flora, Becel, and Amore Maille.

Latin America & Slim.fast worldwide

The Latin America region has recently invested in new food categories, particularly spreads, tea and tomato products. In addition, the region is now also the international base for the Slim*Fast nutritional product and healthy snack foods business, acquired in May 2000

East Asia Pacific

The EAP region covers both HPC, and Food Brands. EAP has its regional office in Singapore. Top-selling brands include Dove, Sunsilk, Pond’s, Close-UP, Omo/Persil, Rexona, Lynx/Axe, Cornetto, Lipton Yellow Label, Continental.

Africa, Middle East & Turkey

This region covers both HPC, and Food Brands. Top-selling brands include Omo, Lipton, Knorr, Royco, Lux, Surf, Sunlight, Dinor, Close-up, Key and Signal.

Central Asia & China

The CAC region covers both HPC, and Food Brands. Unilever established companies across Central Asia. Top selling brands in this highly populated region including Lux, Wheel, Lifebuoy, Surf, Rin, Omo, Fair&Lovely, Sunsilk, Hazeline, Close-up, Zhonghua and Pepsodent. In foods, Lipton, Brooke Bond and Walls are the best selling brands.


Foodservice is a global business concerned with food consumed outside the home – in hospitals, schools, at fast-food restaurants, in work canteens or even from vending machines.

Ice Cream and Frozen Foods

The global Ice Cream and Frozen foods business stretches across Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia. The business is organised on the basis of the following organisation design principles: * operating companies in specific countries interface with their local markets * regional strategic business units are responsible for the strategic leadership of the ice cream category and channels in the region.

Major Subsidiaries/Affiliates, wholly owned by Unilever (Covered By Hoover's Online)

Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc. 30 Community Dr. South Burlington, VT 05403-6828 Phone: 802-846-1500 Fax: 802-846-1555 www.benjerry.com

Unilever bought Ben&Jerry’s for about £204 million in April 2000. Unilever’s main competitor Nestle was also interested. Both companies have declared ice-cream as a strategic and high-growth product category. Unilever and Nestle comfortably lead the ice-cream market worldwide and compete head-to-head in many developed and emerging markets (Ice Cream, the battle for leadership, April 2001) [33]. Controversy surrounded the Unilever take-over of Ben&Jerry’s, that was considered a model ‘ethical’ company. Of course, neither Ben nor Jerry (Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the co-founders of B&J's) wanted to sell. But when your shares miss out on one of history's great bull market runs, shareholder pressure is bound to take its toll. Ben & Jerry's shareholders, frustrated by their socially conscious holding's (a portion of pre-tax profits go to charity) generally disappointing recent share price performance, no doubt love the deal [34].

Bestfoods 700 Sylvan Ave., International Plaza Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632-9976 New York City Guide Phone: 201-894-4000 Fax: 201-894-2186 www.bestfoods.com

Hindustan Lever Limited Hindustan Lever House, 165/166 Backbay Reclamation Mumbai 400 020, India Phone: +91-22-287-0622 Fax: +91-22-287-1970 www.hll.com

Slim-Fast Foods Company 777 S. Flagler Dr., West Tower, Ste. 1400 West Palm Beach, FL 33401 Phone: 561-833-9920 Fax: 561-822-2876 www.slim-fast.com

On the following web site you can find some of Unilever’s subsidiaries/divisions/affiliates, ordered by country: www.hoovers.com/co/capsule/0/0,2163,41850,00.html

Unilever presence in UK

Unilever has five of its offices based in London (including one of Unilever's two corporate centres, and to two world-leading Unilever research centres). However, far more of Unilever’s subsidiaries are scattered around the UK.

Unilever’s subsidiaries in the UK: Birds Eye Wall’s Ltd; Unilever Bestfoods UK; Unilever Cosmetics International; Ben&Jerry’s; Lever Faberge Ltd; Lipton Soft Drinks Ltd; Slim-Fast; Unipath Ltd; Sunlight; Van Den Bergh Foods Ltd.[13]

Go to www.unilever.co.uk/unileverintheuk/index.html for a full list of Unilever’s locations in the UK.

Go to www.unilever.co.uk/unileverintheuk/didyouknow.html to find out all those little facts about Unilever’s products in the UK you’ve always wanted to know, such as:

‘Birds Eye Wall's makes enough burgers every year to stretch from London to Moscow, and it would take a barbecue the size of the City of London to cook them all at once.’


  1. Unilever Baroness Chalker of Wallasey Accessed 25th february 2008
  2. Unilever Rt. Hon. The Lord Leon Brittan of Spennithorne Accessed 25th February 2008
  3. Unilever Lord Simon of Highbury Accessed 25th February 2008
  4. Unilever Jeroen van der Veer Accessed 25th February 2008
  5. Unilever Byron Grote Accessed 25th February 2008
  6. Unilever Charles E Golden Accessed 25th February 2008
  7. Eli Lilly [1] Accessed 2006
  8. Conference Board [2] Accessed 2006
  9. Air France Jean-Cyril Spinetta Accessed 25th February 2008
  10. Unilever Spinetta to step down from Unilever Accessed 25th February 2008
  11. Unilever Kees J Storm Accessed 25th February 2008
  12. Koninklijke Wessanen Wessanen dividend 2003 to be maintained at high level of EUR 0.58 per share Accessed 25th February 2008
  13. Location (source: Unilever, date viewed: 20/9/01)

[22] ‘The Directory of Multinationals, The World’s Top 500 Companies’, 5th edition, volume 2, Waterlow, Specialist Information Publishing Ltd 1998, pg. 1614 [23] www.marketing.haynet.com/news/n010531/power100.html (FitzGerald, Power 100 list) [24] www.bermudasun.bm/archives/2001-05-11/03Business13 (FitzGerald, high pay, low performance)

[26] www.hll.com/00kbd.htm (Keki Dadiseth) [27] www.red-star-research.org.uk/subframe1.html (source: Red Star Research, visit this site for information on various friends of Tony Blair, date viewed: 19/9/01) [28] www.xs4all.nl/~ceo/observer8/brittan.html, an excellent site to find out more about Lord Brittan [29] www.xs4all.nl/~ceo/observer8/brittan.html (source: Corporate Europe Observatory, date viewed: 19/9/01) [30] www.londonstockexchange.com/press/releases/24a-01-01.asp (Oscar Fanjul) [31] www.cmg.com/Corporate/PressRoom/Appointment+Wim+Dik.htm (Wim Dik) [32] For the complete overview, see: ‘The Directory of Multinationals, The World’s Top 500 Companies’, 5th edition, volume 2, Waterlow, Specialist Information Publishing Ltd 1998, pg. 1614-1616 [33] www.pictet.com/en/services/brokerage/recent/sector/icecream.pdf download.0001.PdfFile0.pdf/Publication%20in%20English.pdf (PdfFile, study titled 'Ice Cream, The Battle for Leadership', April 2001, source: Pictet, date viewed: 20/9/01) [34] www.fool.com/news/foolplate/2000/foolplate000412.htm (‘A Happy "Ending" for Ben&Jerry’s?’, 12/4/00, source: The Mothley Fool, date viewed: 19/9/01)