Unilever, known for its popular consumer brands such as Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, has recently undergone significant management changes. This has been well received by Lindsell Train, one of the company’s top investors. Lindsell Train, a highly influential investment firm, rarely comments publicly on the companies it holds stakes in, making their positive statement noteworthy.

According to Nick Train, manager of the Finsbury Growth & Income Trust and co-founder of Lindsell Train, Unilever’s management changes demonstrate the company’s recognition of the need for a “fresh perspective on all aspects of the business.” Lindsell Train has already engaged in discussions with the incoming chairman about the company’s future steps.

Unilever’s new CEO, Hein Schumacher, recently revealed plans to simplify the business, acknowledging its underperformance in recent years. The company will focus on 30 key brands that generate a majority of its sales. Train emphasized the importance of FMCG companies regularly evaluating and reassessing their assets for optimal performance.

These management changes come after the departure of former CEO Alan Jope, who faced challenges in his final year, including a failed attempt to acquire GSK’s consumer healthcare business and the arrival of activist investor Nelson Peltz on the board. Schumacher took over as CEO in July, followed by the announcement that Ian Meakins would become the new chairman in December.

Lindsell Train maintains a productive dialogue with Unilever and recently met with the new chairman to discuss the company’s next steps. Unilever, however, declined to comment on the matter.

In addition to the management changes, Unilever announced the departure of Hanneke Faber, president of nutrition, and the appointment of Priya Nair as the head of its beauty and wellbeing business. Matt Close, president of the ice cream division, will also be leaving the company after a long tenure. Furthermore, Unilever has frozen Schumacher’s fixed pay for the next two years as part of its efforts to streamline operations and improve performance.

Lindsell Train’s positive response to Unilever’s management changes indicates a potential turning point for the company. With a fresh perspective and a focus on key brands, Unilever aims to revitalize its performance and achieve better results in the future.

Useful links:
1. Unilever’s Official Press Release on Management Changes
2. Lindsell Train’s Official Website