Harish Manwani to retire as HUL’s chief operating officer

MUMBAI: After 38 years of service, Harish Manwani, Unilevers’ chief operating officer has decided to hang his boots.


Manwani will retire from Unilever on 31 December 31; however, he will continue in his capacity as the non-executive chairman of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL).


Manwani, who had joined HUL as a management trainee in 1976, grew the personal products business from a nascent business to one of the key growth engines of the company. Subsequently,  he enjoyed success in many roles, covering both categories and markets, and across many parts of the world. This included stints as SVP Global Hair Care & Oral Care and Home & Personal Care president first of Latin America and later of North America.


Unilever CEO Paul Polman said, “Harish is an inspirational leader and leaves a remarkable legacy. He has been at my side in helping to drive the turnaround of Unilever, making this once again one of the most admired companies in the world. Over the last three years, especially as Chief Operating Officer, Harish has been instrumental in the transformation of the company. Under his leadership we have seen a step-change in our go-to-market organisation and there has been a relentless focus on flawless execution globally.  He has role-modelled the 4G sustainable growth model – Competitive, Consistent, Profitable and Responsible – which has become such a strong focal point for the Markets.”


Paul added, “I would like to thank Harish once more for his enormous contribution.  He is both a friend and a much admired and respected business leader. In everything he has done, Harish has lived the values that make Unilever such a great company. Through his passion, commitment and endless energy, he leaves a lasting impact on the business he has served with such distinction. I will personally miss his friendship and wise counsel.”


As COO, Manwani’s key achievement have been his leadership of the global markets where he established and aligned the market clusters across the world behind a clear agenda, creating a better and more integrated go-to-market organisation. It has also allowed the business to be managed more dynamically, resource allocation to be done more efficiently across markets and best practices to be transferred more seamlessly. This has allowed Unilever to become increasingly more competitive in a tougher business environment.


Manwani  said, “I am deeply grateful to all those colleagues who have helped to make the last 38 years at HUL and Unilever so memorable and fulfilling. It has been a privilege to serve such a great company. Today, Unilever is in a strong position with a clear strategy and capabilities to drive long-term responsible growth. This makes it a good time for me to make this personal transition. I look forward to working with Paul and the leadership team over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition and to further build our growth agenda.”


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