Unilever confirms job cuts in food and refreshment split – FoodNavigator.com

CEO Alan Jope announced the company will be restructured into five divisions: Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Home Care, Nutrition, and Ice Cream. 

The new set-up sees Hanneke Faber, President Foods & Refreshment, appointed President Nutrition, which will be home to Scratch Cooking, Healthy Snacking, Functional Nutrition, Plant-Based Meat, and Food Solutions. Matt Close, EVP Ice Cream, becomes President Ice Cream, a Business Group in its own right.

The overhauls comes amid much speculation about the company’s future after its rejected £50 billion takeover approach for GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer healthcare division. The bid was met with a backlash from shareholders and investors, spooked at the steep price tag.  The company had also run into criticism for sacrificing returns for an excessive focus on corporate sustainability​.

Shares then rallied on reports that activist investor Nelson Peltz, owner of the activist hedge fund Trian Partners, had built a stake in the company.

Trian’s history of revamping brands – notably Unilever rival Procter & Gamble – encouraged investors that it could also unlock value at the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant by demanding it exit low-growth categories and demerge its food division from its home and personal care business.

“The fox would now appear to be inside the henhouse,”​ said Martin Deboo, analyst at investment bank Jefferies. He noted that in 2007 Trian prompted a split into confectionery and soft drinks at Cadbury, which concluded with a listing of soft drinks and an eventual take-out of confectionery by Kraft. Trian also argued successfully for splitting Kraft into Kraft Heinz and Mondelez International, though it was unsuccessful in its fight to engineer a split between drinks and snacks at PepsiCo.

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