Unilever names former Heinz executive as its new boss

Consumer goods giant Unilever has named former Heinz executive Hein Schumacher as its new boss to replace outgoing chief executive Alan Jope.

The Marmite to Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream firm said Mr Schumacher will take over the role on July 1 after a one-month handover with Mr Jope, who announced his plans to retire in September after five years at the helm.

Mr Schumacher will receive an annual salary of 1.85 million euros (£1.62 million), as well as potential bonus and long-term incentive shares, in what is one of the best-paid chief executive roles in the FTSE 100.

Hein Schumacher will take over as Unilever chief executive on July 1 (Unilever/PA)
Hein Schumacher will take over as Unilever chief executive on July 1 (Unilever/PA)

The group said he will also be paid share awards in lieu of bonuses due from his previous firm, which will be outlined in Unilever’s 2022 annual report.

The 51-year-old is currently chief executive of global dairy and nutrition business Royal FrieslandCampina and became a non-executive director of Unilever in October last year.

Before joining Royal FrieslandCampina initially as chief financial officer in 2014, he worked for Kraft-owned tomato ketchup and soup giant Heinz for more than a decade across the US, Europe and Asia.

Unilever chairman Nils Andersen said: “Hein is a dynamic, values-driven business leader who has a diverse background of experiences and an excellent track record of delivery in the global consumer goods industry.

“He has exceptional strategic capabilities, proven operational effectiveness, and strong experience in both developed and developing markets.”

Mr Schumacher said: “In my time serving on the board, I have only become more convinced by the strength of Unilever’s fundamentals and its clear growth potential.

“I will be very focused on working with the Unilever team to deliver a step-up in business performance, as we serve the billions of people around the world who use its products every day.”

At Heinz, Mr Schumacher was latterly executive vice president of Kraft Heinz’s Asia Pacific region and led a successful turnaround of the business, which spanned China, Indonesia, India, Japan and Oceania.

He was also previously chief strategy officer at Heinz, before moving to China in 2011 as the division’s president and chief executive.

He has been chief executive of Royal FrieslandCampina – an 11 billion euros (£9.6 billion) business operating in more than 40 countries – since January 2018.