Marmite maker Unilever appoints new chief executive after fumbled attempt to restart growth

Unilever has appointed a former Heinz executive to lead the company as it races to fend off criticism over its social values and the threat of an activist investor. Alan Jope will be replaced as chief executive of the consumer goods giant in July by Hein Schumacher, who is currently a non-executive board member and chief executive at Dutch dairy business Royal FrieslandCampina. Mr Schumacher said he wanted to “deliver a step-up in business performance” at Unilever. His appointment comes after a failed $50bn (£40bn) bid to buy GSK's consumer healthcare arm and amid criticism of the company's focus on social campaigning. The scuppered GSK deal – which would have included brands Aquafresh and Panadol – last year, was spearheaded by Mr Jope. It is said to have displeased investors due to the high price Unilever offered to pay. GSK eventually spun off its consumer business as Haleon and listed it in London. Bruno Monteyne, an analyst at Bernstein, suggested at the time Unilever’s shares might be likely to perform better under new management. Unilever has also faced criticism from investors for focusing on social issues and brand “purpose” rather than returning value for shareholders under Mr Jope's leadership. Activist...

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