How Unilever has restructured its procurement team

The procurement changes mark a significant shift from the FMCG giant's current structure

Unilever has sought to simplify its business by establishing three separate marketing procurement teams – each dedicated to different segments of the business.

Spanning: beauty and personal care; home care; and foods and refreshment, each team will carry responsibility for overseeing their respective marketing and advertising budgets, with each reported to by specific country category business teams to provide quicker, more localised, responses.

The procurement changes, first introduced last year, mark a significant shift from the FMCG giant's former structure, where marketing and advertising were previously handled as part of a two-tier system with separate boards of directors.

Unilever's finance boss, Graeme Pitkethly, explained the move in an investor call when it was announced in 2018: “Of critical importance for success is to combine scale with agility. Unilever will not be run by a corporate centre, but by three empowered divisions.

"This is the logical next step in the transformation of Unilever. It will drive long-term shareholder value and provide increased flexibility, strengthen corporate governance and enable our divisions to better serve consumers by balancing scale and agility."

Unilever has also adopted a more proactive stance in choosing whom and where it spends its marketing budget, ostracizing those companies and platforms it deems to have fermented societal divisions or inadequately protect children.

Elsewhere, Keith Weed, Unilever's longtime chief marketing officer, is to step down in April. Speculation is mounting that the Dove owner will not directly replace him in the chief marketing officer role, changing the way the marketing department operates instead.

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