In his final farewell to a company he has led for more than a decade, Sanjiv Mehta, MD and CEO indostan unilever (HUL) said that more than numbers, it valued the capabilities the company had built to reinvent itself. He added that the company’s ‘Win in Many Indies (WiMi)’ strategy was a decisive step that gave it a lasting competitive advantage.
“We have taken the science and art of market development (or market making) to a new level. Today these new segments make up more than 20 percent of our turnover,” he said in his LinkedIn post.
HUL’s WiMi strategy, which recognizes India’s heterogeneity, has given the company a huge competitive advantage.
Welcoming Rohit Jawa, who succeeds him as HUL’s new CEO and CEO, effective June 27, Mehta said, “I am sure that new records will be set under his leadership and business will go higher and higher. “.
Mehta began her post by saying, “Today I started the day with gratitude in my heart and prayers on my lips. Today, we are announcing that my membership in Unilever will come to an end at the conclusion of the HUL General Shareholders’ Meeting on June 26.”
He added: “I will go with the peace of mind that our business today is much stronger than ever and our impact on the country and society is much greater.”
Mehta said his 31-year career has been an exciting one and for 21 years he had the privilege of serving Unilever businesses in 25 countries as CEO.
He described his role in South Asia, where he held various positions in HIS as CEO, CEO, and President for the past ten years, as a “lifelong honor.”
“It has been one of the longest tenures in the illustrious history of Hindustan Unilever,” he said, adding that he was the first incumbent chief executive of HIS to be on the executive board (Unilever Leadership Executive) of Unilever.
He described Unilever as an institution where values and purpose take center stage, saying the company was a beacon of diversity and inclusion. “It is a company where creating a positive impact on the environment and society is as integral as building a brand. It is a company with perhaps the largest footprint in the world, one whose brands are available in more countries than (there are) members of the United Nations,” Mehta said.
Mehta thanked the teams he worked with across all geographies and acknowledged the challenges he faced along the way. Referring to his tenure as Chairman and CEO of Unilever Bangladesh, he said: “We turned a floundering and troubled business into one of the best companies in the country while generating mid-teenage growth.”
While at the helm in the Philippines, he broached the prospect of assuming leadership of the region’s largest category and, as president of Unilever-North Africa and Middle East, weathered the financial crisis and the Arab Spring to achieve two-fold growth. digits that outperformed the market during the five years he was there.
In the ten years that Mehta was at the helm of HUL, the company’s market capitalization increased 5 times to over $70 billion, which he says is more than the market capitalization of many global FMCGs. companies like Kraft Heinz, Reckitt Benckiser, General Mills and Colgate. “Only the increase in market capitalization in the last 10 years would have made HIS the tenth most valuable company in the country,” he said.
During his tenure in India, he spoke about the ‘Reimagine HUL’ agenda, saying it was a great example of a legacy company reinventing itself with data and technology.
Its Shikhar app has been adopted by 1.1 million retailers and HUL’s Dapada factory has been recognized as a Flagship Factory by the World Economic Forum for Industry 4.0. It is the first in FMCG and the first factory in every industry in the country to be recognized as a beacon of sustainability.
He added that his Jarvis model allowed the company to optimize different variables using Bayesian models. From a linear value chain, HUL is becoming a network of ecosystems.
Mehta also referred to the presence of women in management increasing from less than 20% to 45%, saying the company was on track to become gender-balanced management by 2025.
“HUL is now focusing our energies on the front line and with the workers,” he said.
He signed off saying: “I am looking forward to my next entries. I remember the famous lines of Robert Frost: “Miles to go before I sleep”. In the coming months I will have the opportunity to meet many of my team members in different places, to thank them and give them a big hug. God bless you!”