Over the past two years Unilever has been accelerating the selloff of food brands and manufacturing facilities. From 2000-2010 this was called the “Path to Growth” and “One Unilever”, a process which shrunk the company’s brands from 1,600 to less than 400 and reduced the number of global employees by half. CEO Paul Polman now calls this “pulling weeds to let the flowers grow”, and has said that the company is “nearly done” with its portfolio review.
Chief Financial Officer Marc Huët is showing powerpoint slides to investors titled “reducing our dependence on foods”. What, then, is the role and the future of foods at Unilever, a topic which has long engaged the financial press? Is the company “nearly done”?
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