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Unilever share price: Analysts weigh in on CEO change

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AJ Bell wonders whether the FTSE 100 bosses who have quit this year are ‘getting out at the top,’ as Unilever (LON:ULVR) announced that its chief executive Paul Polman was stepping down, Citywire reports. His departure comes after the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant abandoned a plan earlier this year to create a single holding company in the Netherlands, following heated opposition from investors.

Unilever’s share price was little changed in the previous session, giving up 0.08 percent to close at 4,254.50p. The stock underperformed the broader UK market, with the FTSE 100 index gaining 34.43 points to end trading 0.49 percent higher at 7,038.95.

AJ Bell weighs in on changes at the top

Citywire quoted AJ Bell analyst Russ Mould as commenting yesterday that Unilever’s outgoing boss Paul Polman was “the latest in a long line of FTSE 100 chief executives to announce their departure” this year. Polman will be succeeded by Alan Jope, currently President, Beauty & Personal Care, effective January 1, which the analyst said was a surprise as Tesco (LON:TSCO) boss Dave Lewis had been touted as a potential successor.

“One could argue this elite group is getting out at the top, just as large parts of the global economy are starting to look fragile,” Mould continued, adding that Polman’s legacy was “slightly tarnished by the failed plan to move the company’s headquarters to Rotterdam” and he will hope he is instead remembered for “the large amount of value created for shareholders during his tenure”.

Other analysts on Anglo-Dutch group

Royal Bank of Canada continues to see the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant as an ‘underperform,’ valuing the shares at 3,300p. According to MarketBeat, the blue-chip group currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 4,377.54p.

As of 08:01 GMT, Friday, 30 November, Unilever plc share price is 4,254.50p.

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