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Unilever share price steady as company unveils change at the top

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Shares in Unilever (LON:ULVR) have climbed higher in London this morning as the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant announced that Paul Polman, its chief executive for over a decade, had decided to step down from the company. The news of his departure comes after last month, the Anglo-Dutch group scrapped its plans to abandon its dual-headed structure and create a single holding company in the Netherlands, following opposition from investors.

As of 08:46 GMT, Unilever’s share price had added 0.58 percent to 4,282.50p, marginally underperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index standing 0.80 percent higher at 7,060.73 points. The group’s shares have added about 1.6 percent to their value over the past year, as compared with about a 4.6-percent dip in the Footsie.

Unilever CEO steps down

Unilever announced in a statement this morning that its CEO Paul Polman had decided to retire from the company. He will be succeeded by Alan Jope, currently President, Beauty & Personal Care, effective January 1, with Polman supporting the transition process during the first half of the year.

“Paul is an exceptional business leader who has transformed Unilever, making it one of the best-performing companies in its sector,” Unilever Chairman Marijn Dekkers commented in the statement, adding that the board had decided to appoint Jope to the role following “a rigorous and wide-ranging selection process”.

Today’s news comes after it emerged yesterday that Unilever is in a pole position to buy GlaxoSmithKline's (LON:GSK) nutrition business, which includes the Horlicks malted drink brand popular in India.

Analysts on FTSE 100 group

Liberum reaffirmed Unilever as a ‘hold’ today, without specifying a price target on the shares. According to MarketBeat, the blue-chip group currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 4,369.85p.

As of 09:17 GMT, Thursday, 29 November, Unilever plc share price is 4,282.50p.

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