Unilever CEO outlines shift towards emerging markets

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 29th June 2011

Unilever CEO Paul Polman last week outlined the manufacturer’s strategic shift towards emerging markets to take advantage of their rapidly-growing populations.

Speaking at the Cannes advertising festival, Polman said that one of the major drivers of change is the shift of economic power to the east and the south. He asked if the current marketing agency model is the right one in “helping brand owners anticipate the needs of the next billion consumers in the fast growing markets of the east and the south?”

Polman highlighted how that shift towards emerging markets was playing out internally. He said that today around 56% of the group’s revenue comes from outside Europe and the US, and that by 2012 that figure will likely increase to 70-75%

“We need our resources, our capabilities and talent pool to reflect where the growth is going to come from, not where it has been, i.e., more in New Delhi than New York,” he said.

The comments followed a major restructuring announcement made by the company earlier today, which broadened its category organisation to four divisions and promoted Harish Manwani to chief operating officer.

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