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HUL Appoints Rohit Jawa as MD & CEO, to Replace Sanjiv Mehta

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has named Rohit Jawa as its new managing director and CEO, effective June 27, 2023. He will succeed Sanjiv Mehta, who is set to leave the company after a decade in charge.

Shivam Dwivedi
As chairman of Unilever Philippines, Rohit Jawa guided company to become one of Unilever's top 10 markets worldwide
As chairman of Unilever Philippines, Rohit Jawa guided company to become one of Unilever's top 10 markets worldwide

Jawa will join the company on April 1 as CEO-designate and full-time director. He will also take over as president of Unilever South Asia, the company announced in a stock exchange filing on Friday.

He will join Unilever's Leadership Executive (ULE) on April 1, 2023. Sanjiv Mehta will retire from HUL after a transformational 10-year tenure as CEO, according to the company. Jawa, an MBA in marketing from the Faculty of Management Studies and alumnus of St Stephen's College, Delhi, is currently the chief of transformation for Unilever, based in London, where he has orchestrated Unilever's end-to-end transformation since January 2022.

In 1988, he joined HUL directly from campus as a management trainee in Mumbai, and went on to work in India, South East Asia, and North Asia. Jawa's success mirrors that of several HUL executives who have moved on to lead businesses for Unilever in far-flung regions.

Jawa led a significant transformation of Unilever China into a competitive, profitable, and consistent business, which is now Unilever's third largest globally, according to the company. As chairman of Unilever Philippines, he guided the company to become one of Unilever's top ten markets worldwide.

"Jawa's ability to integrate traditional market strength with digital technologies and future-fit business models positions him well to lead HUL into its next growth phase," the company stated. The company that sells household products such as Lux soap and Knorr soups reported a turnover of 50,336 crore in fiscal 2022. Unilever's largest market in terms of volume and second in terms of value is India.

Mehta, 62, took over as MD & CEO of HUL in October 2013 and guided the company through a period of sustained growth. "During his decade at the helm, the business crossed the 50,000-crore turnover mark, and the company's market capitalization more than quadrupled from $17 billion to $75 billion, reinforcing HUL as one of India's most valuable businesses," the company said.

Mehta also oversaw acquisitions of brands such as GSK Consumer Healthcare's Horlicks and regional hair-care brand Indulekha, bolstering the company's presence in both the nutrition and personal care markets. "With several strategic mergers and acquisitions, such as the amalgamation of GSK Consumer Healthcare into HUL, one of the largest mergers in the history of FMCG in the country," the company said.

Mehta also oversaw several transformative business initiatives, including 'Dial Up the Big Q' and 'Winning in Many Indias,' to help the company become more consumer-centric, agile, and resilient. Mehta also championed the 'Reimagine HUL' agenda to make the company more future-ready by leveraging data and designing business models to redefine how HUL engages with customers.

On Friday, the company also announced the appointment of Ranjay Gulati as an independent director for a five-year term beginning April 1, 2023, and ending March 31, 2028. Gulati is currently a Harvard Business School professor. He is an expert on organizational growth and previously chaired the School's flagship Senior Leader Executive Program, the Advanced Management Program. Gulati has an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University. He received his bachelor's degree in economics from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University.

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