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Unilever outperforms, edging higher after naming Hein Schumacher as new CEO

By Geoffrey Smith

Investing.com -- Shares in Unilever (LON:ULVR) edged higher in London on Monday, outperforming the broader market after the Anglo-Dutch consumer giant named former Heinz executive Hein Schumacher as its new chief executive.

Schumacher will replace Alan Jope, whose tenure at the helm of Unilever has been overshadowed by lackluster stock performance and an embarrassing abortive bid for the consumer healthcare business of GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) last year. The business was ultimately spun off as Haleon (LON:HLN).

Unilever shares are almost unchanged from four years ago, when Jope took over as CEO. By contrast, those of arch-rivals Nestle (SIX:NESN) and Procter&Gamble (NYSE:PG) are up by 26% and 53%, respectively.

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Schumacher is currently head of global dairy and nutrition business Royal FrieslandCampina, which makes Optimel and Landliebe yogurts. He will only join Unilever on June 1, with a one-month transition period before he takes over from Jope in July.

Schumacher had started his career in Unilever's finance department, before stints with supermarket chain Royal Ahold and then with H.J. Heinz. There, he rose to head its Asian unit before leaving the company in 2014, a year before it merged with Kraft Foods (NASDAQ:KHC) in a merger driven by Warren Buffett and Brazilian private equity group 3G.

By 06:00 ET (11:00 GMT), Unilever stock was up 0.7%, while the FTSE 100 index was down 0.1%.

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