Hindustan Unilever separates positions of Chairman and CEO & MD


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FMCG major Ltd. (HUL) has separated the positions of chairman of the board and the chief executive officer & managing director (& MD), which will come into effect from March 31.

The FMCG major has announced the appointment of Nitin Paranjpe, currently chief operating officer of Unilever as the non-executive chairman of the company and Sanjiv Mehta will continue as & MD.

“The Nomination & Remuneration Committee (NRC) of the board recommended his (Paranjpe) appointment to the board. The board accepted the recommendation made by the NRC and has appointed Paranjpe as a non-executive chairman. The appointment is subject to approval of the shareholders which the company will seek as per applicable regulations,” said in its release.

As announced by Unilever in January, Paranjpe will take on a new role as chief transformation officer & chief people officer, leading the business transformation, and heading the HR function for Unilever effective April 2022. He is also a member of the Supervisory Board of Heineken NV.

Sanjiv Mehta, chairman & managing director, said, “We welcome Nitin back to HUL as the non-executive chairman. He brings in huge knowledge and experience which will enrich the deliberations and add value to the board.”

Mehta also thanked the board for their support rendered to him during his tenure and added, “It has been an honour to have led the HUL board over the past few years.”

Sanjiv Misra, chairman of the NRC said, “Sanjiv has played a stellar role not only in leading the business to high performance in a challenging environment but has also led the board, most ably, setting high standards of governance and transparency in board management.”

Mishra added, “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Sanjiv for his contributions as the chairman and look forward to continuing to work with him in his capacity as the & MD.

We would also like to welcome Nitin as the non-executive chairman of the Board.”

Paranjpe, commenting on his appointment as the non-executive chairman, said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be appointed as the non-executive chairman of HUL; one of the most respected in the country. I look forward to working closely with Sanjiv and the board to further strengthen the company and help navigate the challenges and opportunities in the years ahead.”

This move by HUL comes despite the capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) not making it mandatory for listed to split the position of chairperson and managing director/chief executive officer positions.

The decision was taken at a Sebi board meet earlier this month.

Sebi had earlier asked listed entities to split the roles of chairperson and MD before the April 2022 deadline. Listed entities were initially required to separate the roles of chairperson and MD/CEO from April 1, 2020 onwards. However, based on industry representations, an additional time period of two years was given for compliance. The norms were part of the series of recommendations given by the Sebi-appointed Uday Kotak committee on corporate governance.

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