Unilever US, the US division of the global consumer goods group, has announced that it is to consolidate some of its offices, a move that will mean the closure of its offices in Greenwich, Connecticut, and affect 800 jobs in Connecticut and Illinois.

The company said the changes were part of its plan to continue strengthening its US operations, and would better enable it to compete in the marketplace. The changes will be initiated at the end of 2007 and are scheduled to be completed during 2008.

“This is the next step in strengthening our market position in the US,” said Michael Polk, president of Unilever US. “Our broad footprint spanning both foods and home and personal care categories is a real enabler for growth. By moving our businesses closer together we are creating an environment that will unlock the power of our people and allow us to better leverage what differentiates us in the marketplace.”

Unilever US will consolidate its US offices into two primary East Coast locations, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey and Trumbull, Connecticut. Englewood Cliffs will serve as the company’s US and Americas regional headquarters, bringing together a majority of Unilever’s business teams.

The present Chicago office will remain the primary site for the company’s hair and deodorant business teams, Unilever US said. However, the company said it is realigning its home and personal care research and development organisation, with the Illinois-based R&D location at Rolling Meadows closing, and its deodorants and hair regional technology centres relocating to the company’s Trumbull office.
“We are making significant investments in both our Trumbull and Englewood Cliffs facilities to enable our expansion,” Polk said. “These moves will help us to drive operational excellence, enable more nimble decision making and greater collaboration of our brands. At the same time we recognise that change is never easy and we are sensitive that these decisions will present challenges to some of our employees. However, we believe that these are the best options for our people and our business in the long term.”