Huet joined the business on 1 January, but his appointment
to the board is subject to election by shareholders at its general meeting in
May. He joins under the leadership of Paul Polman, Unilever’s first-ever
externally appointed CEO, who was CFO at Nestlé before joining Unilever and was
an FD at Procter & Gamble. Huet said he was “looking forward enormously” to
the job. “Paul Polman has set an ambitious vision for the company,” he added.
Polman returned the compliment. “We are delighted to have attracted a
candidate of Jean-Marc’s talent and expertise,” he said. “He joins Unilever at
an exciting time. His background and expertise will be important in helping us
realise the growth ambitions we have for the future.”
Lawrence is said to have decided to look for his next opportunity after
Polman’s appointment as he had hoped to be in the running for the CEO role after
just over two years in the CFO job. He said he had an “excellent time” at
Unilever and that he had “made many good friends” there. Some reports suggest he
will now turn to the private equity sector for his next job: he remains a
non-executive director of British Airways, which will keep him occupied.
Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that Charles Bancroft, vice president for
finance at its global biopharmaceutical business, has been made acting chief
financial officer. Chairman and CEO James Cornelius said that Jean-Marc had
indicated he wanted to return to Europe from the US and that he and the board
were grateful for his work in solidifying the company’s balance sheet and
increasing its cash position to almost $10bn.