Unilever today announced that CEO Paul Polman has decided to retire from the company. Alan Jope, currently President, Beauty & Personal Care, has been appointed to the position, effective 1 January 2019, with Polman supporting the transition process during the first half of the year.

Paul Polman has been Unilever CEO for over 10 years and has worked in the consumer goods industry for almost four decades. During his tenure, the company has delivered consistent top and bottom line growth ahead of its markets. Its focus on successfully pioneering a new model of sustainable growth has served the needs of its many stakeholders and created excellent returns for its shareholders, delivering a Total Shareholder Return of 290% over that period.

Unilever President Marijn Dekkers said: “Paul is an exceptional business leader who has transformed Unilever, making it one of the best-performing companies in its sector, and one of the most admired businesses in the world. His role in helping to define a new era of responsible capitalism, embodied in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, marks him out as one of the most far-sighted business leaders of his generation.”

“Paul’s vision, drive and performance focus, combined with his commitment to serving the best long-term interests of the company, have materially strengthened Unilever. He leaves a more agile and resilient company, well placed to win in this fast-changing, dynamic industry.”

Alan Jope, 54, has led Beauty & Personal Care, Unilever’s largest Division, since 2014 and has been on the company’s Leadership Executive since 2011. Alan joined the company as a graduate marketing trainee in 1985 and he has n excellent track record of leading Unilever’s business in both developed and emerging markets, having run the company’s North Asia business for four years, served as President, Russia, Africa & Middle East.

“Alan has a deep understanding and experience of our business, the industry, and the markets in which we operate. He is a strong, dynamic and values-driven leader with an impressive track record of delivering consistent high-quality performance, “Dekkers said.