Unilever announces job cuts, plans to spin-off ice cream business

Some 7,500 jobs will be cut as Unilever looks to focus on sustainable growth and enhanced profitability.
Tom Venetis head shot
Unilever Logo on Corporate Building
Photo: Unilever

Unilever, a global supplier of beauty, personal and home care products, as well as a range of well-know food and beverage products, such as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, announced it will be cutting 7,500 jobs and spinning off its ice cream business.

The company’s board said the move part of an effort to accelerate its Growth Action Plan (GAP) so that the company can “be increasingly focused on a portfolio of unmissably superior brands with strong positions in highly attractive categories that have complementary operating models. This is where the company can most effectively apply its innovation, marketing and go-to-market capabilities.”

The decision to separate its ice cream business was that “Ice Cream has a very different operating model, and as a result the Board has decided that the separation of Ice Cream best serves the future growth of both Ice Cream and Unilever.”

The splitting off of the ice cream side of the business will create “a world-leading business, operating in a highly attractive category, with brands that together delivered turnover of €7.9 billion in 2023. The business has five of the top 10 selling global ice cream brands including Wall’s, Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s, with exposure in both the in-home and out-of-home segments across a global footprint.”

Ian Meakins, chair of Unilever said, “the Board is determined to transform Unilever into a higher-growth, higher-margin business that will deliver consistently for all stakeholders. Improving our performance and sharpening our portfolio are key to delivering the improved results we believe Unilever can achieve. “The separation of Ice Cream and the delivery of the productivity programme will help create a simpler, more focused, and higher performing Unilever. It will also create a world-leading ice cream business, with strong growth prospects and an exciting future as a standalone business.”

READ:  Unilever grows ice cream portfolio

“Under the Growth Action Plan we have committed to do fewer things, better, and with greater impact. The changes we are announcing today will help us accelerate that plan, focusing our business and our resources on global or scalable brands where we can apply our leading innovation, technology and go-to-market capabilities across complementary operating models,” said Hein Schumacher, CEO of Unilever. 

“Simplifying our portfolio and driving greater productivity will allow us to further unlock the potential of this business, supporting our ambition to position Unilever as a world-leading consumer goods company delivering strong, sustainable growth and enhanced profitability. We are committed to carrying out our productivity programme in consultation with employee representatives, and with respect and care for those of our people who are impacted.”

In an AP report published by The Canadian Press, the jobs cuts – Unilever employs some 128,000 – would come mostly from office-based jobs worldwide. The company also laid off 1,500 staffers in early 2022.

With files from The Canadian Press

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds