Food and consumer goods group Unilever has announced that Michael Polk is to take over as its president for the Americas region with effect from March 2007.

Polk will succeed John Rice who is stepping down in March after 25 years with the company. "I want to thank John for his many contributions to Unilever over the course of his career with the company," said Unilever CEO Patrick Cescau. "Most recently this included his commitment to help build the new One Unilever organisation as well as the successful leadership of the Americas region for the past two years. We will all miss his leadership and experience."

Polk, who joined Unilever from Kraft in 2003, is currently group vice president and president of Unilever United States. "Mike has played a key role in successfully integrating the US business and sustaining our growth momentum in this important country," Cescau said. "I am really pleased that he is taking on the leadership of the Americas region".