Unilever today (4 September) revealed that Nestlé executive Paul Polman will replace CEO Patrick Cescau when he retires at the end of the year.

Polman is executive vice president and zone director for the Americas at Nestlé. Previously, he served at Procter & Gamble, where he rose to become group president, Europe – a position he held from 2001 to 2005.

Polman will be proposed for appointment to the Unilever board at extraordinary general meetings to be held during the autumn and will assume the role of CEO “following an orderly transition”, the company said. 

Commenting on the appointment, Unilever chairman Michael Treschow said: “We are very pleased to welcome Paul Polman. He is a great talent with significant international experience and an excellent track record.”

During his tenure as Unilever chief executive, Cescau introduced a number of measures designed to rejuvenate the company. Most recently he oversaw a strategic overhaul of the group’s brands under the banner “One Unilever”.

“Four years ago we set out to transform Unilever and to get the business back on track. I believe that phase of work is largely complete, so now is exactly the right time to pass on the baton,” Cascau said.