Unilever on Tuesday announced plans to cut around 1,500 management jobs worldwide under a major restructure of the British consumer goods giant.
The announcement comes after the maker of Magnum ice cream and Dove soap failed with a £50-billion takeover bid for the consumer health care unit owned by pharmaceutical groups GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer.
Unilever said its “proposed new organisation model will result in a reduction in senior management roles of around 15 percent”.
It added in a statement that junior management roles would be cut by five percent.
Together the cuts totalled “around 1,500 roles globally”.
Unilever plans to create five distinct business groups: Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Home Care, Nutrition, and Ice Cream.
“Each business group will be fully responsible and accountable for their strategy, growth, and profit delivery globally,” it said.
Chief executive Alan Jope, who has faced investor criticism over the recent failed takeover, added: “Growth remains our top priority and these changes will underpin our pursuit of this.”
The group last week said it would not increase its offer for the GlaxoSmithKline-Pfizer unit.
That came after GSK said it had received three unsolicited offers from Unilever for GSK Consumer Healthcare — all of which were rejected for being too low.
Unilever chief Paul Polman is “retiring” from the consumer giant, the firm said on Thursday, a month after it was forced to ditch a controversial post-Brexit plan to move its headquarters from London to the Netherlands.
The Anglo-Dutch group, the maker of iconic brands like Marmite and Dove soap, will be headed from January by Alan Jope, the current chief of its huge beauty and personal care department.
“Unilever today announced that CEO Paul Polman has decided to retire from the company,” the company said in a statement, adding that he had been in the post for 10 years.
Polman, 62, tweeted that he had decided to “step down from my role as CEO”, adding: “It’s been a great honor to lead this team for the past 10 years and together build a sustainable business that has made a difference to millions of lives.”
“I have no doubts that I will be leaving the company in excellent hands. Under Alan’s leadership, Unilever is well-placed to prosper long into the future.”
Neither Unilever nor Polman made any mention of the headquarters plan, but his position had been in doubt since it fell through on October 5.
Unilever had faced mounting opposition from key shareholders, including Aviva Investors, Royal London, Columbia Threadneedle, Legal & General Investment Management, Lindsell Train, M&G Investments and Brewin Dolphin.
Many were angry that the plan would have ended Unilever’s dual listing on the London and Amsterdam stock exchanges, meaning that many would have had to sell shares in Britain.
The group had originally unveiled the planned switch in March in a symbolic decision that was largely interpreted by analysts as a blow to post-Brexit Britain.
It also followed a failed hostile bid by US rival Kraft Heinz last year, which analysts said played a key role in Unilever’s decision as the Netherlands has stronger rules to protect companies against takeovers.
Jope, who currently leads the firm’s largest division, said it would be a “huge privilege to lead Unilever”.
Polman is due to retire as CEO on December 31 but will stay at the company for six months working on the transition with Jope, the firm said.
The Federal Government says it has rid its payroll of 50,000 ghost workers and saved Nigeria 200 billion Naira.
The government also disclosed that 13 billion Naira has been taken off the payroll monthly from February to December 2016.
The spokesman to the President, Mr Garba Shehu, made the announcement at an interactive meeting with reporters on Tuesday to mark the end the year.
Mr Garba revealed that 11 persons championing the syndicate of ghost workers have been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for interrogation.
“The flagship programme of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to rid the system of fraud and instill good governance is on course. Through a notable initiative, the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the government has embarked on the continuous auditing of the salaries and wages of government departments.
“When the committee was constituted in February 2016, the Federal Government monthly salary bill was 151 billion Naira, excluding pensions. Now the monthly salary warrant is 138 billion Naira, excluding pensions. Which means that the government is making a monthly saving of about 13 billion Naira (that is from February 2016 till date),” said the President’s spokesman.
Mr Shehu added that “the pension bill was 15.5 billion Naira monthly as at February. Now it is down to 14.4 billion Naira, which means average monthly saving made is of about 1.1 billion Naira”.
He said that the total number of ghost workers so far removed from the payroll was about 50,000, stressing that some of those allegedly championing the syndicate of the ghost workers were already undergoing trial.
Federal Government Adoptees
Mr Shehu further noted that the recently-released 21 Chibok girls were being treated as adoptees of the Federal Government, but revealed that there was a lot of local and international interest in the future plans of the girls.
“A black American billionaire, Mr Robert Smith, who is currently sponsoring the education of 24 girls from Chibok, among them the first set of escapees from Boko Haram at the American University of Nigeria, Yola has offered to pay for the education of the 21 released through negotiations and is offering to take responsibility for all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free. The Murtala Mohammed Foundation in the country is equally interested,” he said.
Shehu also responded to complaints by some of the parents of the 21 Chibok Girls that they did not have enough room for interaction with their daughters brought home for Christmas by the Department of State Services (DSS).
He admitted that there were some hitches arising from a lack of understanding of the objective of the trip on the part of some security operatives but that following the receipt of the complaint, a directive had been given from the headquarters for the access by the parents to be eased.
“If the situation persists, please let us know so that the higher authorities will make a further intercession,” he stated.
Issue Of Interest In APC
The President’s aide also addressed an issue of interest to a lot of the members of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) concerning appointments into boards.
He assured the public that the process would be fully back on track at the beginning of the new year.
“You know that the reconstitution began methodically, from sector by sector. You should expect that to resume at the beginning of the New Year. The President has given directions on what to do,” he told reporters.
Favorable Environment For Diversification
On the agricultural programmes of the administration, Mr Shehu said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s persistent call for a return to farming was yielding good results.
“The talk about agriculture has driven people to the farm. This year, there is a huge boom in the rural economy. We have witnessed an excellent harvest. Farmers are getting value for their output. What has encouraged farmers the more is the increasing availability of extension services. New farming techniques are helping farmers to do their occupation better. The readiness of off takers to buy the produce is also a major boost.
“When you put all these together with the systematic move to curb importation, as they boost local production through the restriction of the available foreign exchange to critically important sectors of the economy, you have favorable environment for the diversification of the economy.
“As we speak, several of the country’s major manufacturing industries are actively backward-integrating- Nestle, Unilever, the breweries are using what we have as local materials, changing their formulations to maintain production levels and keep their share of the market.
“Manufacturers, who are hooked on import of raw materials, are advised to re-strategise and take full advantage of local raw materials. The future belongs to those who employ the use of local raw materials,” the spokesman added.
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria is paying dearly for incompetence in managing high revenue that accrued from oil, particularly over the past decade, and for allowing the decay of critical infrastructure.
Speaking at the State House, Abuja on Monday, while receiving the Chief Global CEO of Unilever, Mr Paul Polman, the President said that his administration is working very hard to change the structure of the Nigerian economy battered by several years of mismanagement.
”We refused to save for the rainy day. Now the rain is beating us. No money, no savings, nothing. And we are thoroughly wet from the rains,” he said.
President Buhari said Nigeria was paying the price for turning herself into a mono economy, but assured that the country would soon be able to feed itself, and even export, with the current emphasis placed on agriculture.
He gave the assurance that the Federal Government would fast-track the implementation of strategies to ease doing business and attract more investors into Nigeria.
“We want to create jobs, and supporting manufacturing is one way to do it. As soon as we have stabilized our budget, I would personally be interested in the manufacturing sector, particularly in the generation of essential raw materials,” the President said.
The Chief Global CEO of Unilever said that the conglomerate had been in Nigeria for 93 years, making it the oldest manufacturing concern in the country.
“Our products are more Nigerian than other Nigerian brands. Despite the economic downturn, there are opportunities to further advance our business here.
“The situation to invest and continue to invest here is very encouraging,” Mr Polman said, adding that Unilever had invested about N15 billion in Nigeria in the past three years.