Marmite maker Unilever cutting 1,500 jobs as part of massive shake-up

Consumer goods giant Unilever has confirmed plans to cut 1,500 jobs under a shake-up of its global operations.

The maker of Dove soap-to-Marmite, which made the announcement after details were apparently leaked on Monday evening, said the cuts to senior and junior management roles were the result of a new, simpler organisational structure.

The company said it would now consist of five distinct divisions: Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Home Care, Nutrition, and Ice Cream.

The UK-based firm, which employs 149,000 worldwide – 6,000 of them in the UK and Ireland – was yet to confirm where the most job losses would be made but it said that factory operations were to be spared.

Alan Jope, Unilever chief executive
Alan Jope, Unilever’s CEO of three years, is under pressure to grow investor returns which have lagged rivals

The move is seen as a response to shareholders’ concerns about performance in the business and followed a failed takeover bid for GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer healthcare division.

It also emerged on Monday that activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners had reportedly built a significant stake in the company amid the bid process last week that saw Unilever’s stock crumple.

Values only recovered when Unilever confirmed there would be no further offer beyond the £50bn that had been rejected by GSK on value grounds.

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The company’s chief executive, Alan Jope, said of the shake-up: “Our new organisational model has been developed over the last year and is designed to continue the step-up we are seeing in the performance of our business.

“Moving to five category-focused Business Groups will enable us to be more responsive to consumer and channel trends, with crystal-clear accountability for delivery. Growth remains our top priority and these changes will underpin our pursuit of this.”

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