London: Alan Jope, chief executive of Unilever, will retire his role at the end of 2023, the British consumer goods group announced Monday.
Scotland-born Jope, who this year came under fierce criticism from investor activists over a failed takeover bid, will depart Unilever after five years as CEO and nearly four decades at the company, a statement said. Unilever brands include Magnum ice cream, Cif surface cleaner and Dove soap.
"As I approach my fifth year as CEO, and after more than 35 years in Unilever, I believe now is the right time for the board to begin the formal search for my successor," Jope said.
"Growth remains our top priority, and in the quarters ahead I will remain fully focused on disciplined execution of our strategy, and leveraging the full benefits of our new organisation."
Jope leaves after Unilever's recent failed $50-billion bid for the former health care unit of drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline. In response, Jope slashed around 1,500 management jobs worldwide in a major restructure of the company, seen as a bid to appease unhappy investors.
"Unilever has seen improved performance, enabled by its clear strategic choices and a significant company transformation," chairman Nils Andersen added in Monday's statement.
"The board will now conduct an orderly succession process and support Alan and the management team in further driving the performance of Unilever."
Under Jope, Unilever became a wholly British company at the end of 2020 after it completed a merger of its Dutch and British corporate entities. The group's most recent results revealed first-half revenues jumped on higher prices, but net profit fell on rising costs and taxation.
Input costs for companies worldwide have soared in 2022 on sky-high inflation and global supply-chain pressures. Unilever's share price jumped 1.7 percent to almost £41 ($44) following the announcement on the London stock market.