Marmite maker Unilever to slash 1,500 management jobs

Consumer goods giant Unilever plans to cut 1,500 management jobs as part of a global shakeup following a failed bid for GlaxoSmithKline’s healthcare division.

The company, which has a factory at Port Sunlight and research facility in Wirral, said it planned to “simplify the business” which will see a reduction in senior management roles of around 15% and more junior management roles of 5%.

The company said it would now consist of five distinct divisions: Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Home Care, Nutrition, and Ice Cream.

The reorganisation, part of plans to sell some lower-growth food brands, means brands such as Marmite, Ben & Jerry’s and Knorr’s could all be on the block.

Factory jobs are expected to be safe in the shake-up at Unilever, which employs almost 150,000 people globally.

Alan Jope, CEO Unilever, said: “Our new organisational model has been developed over the last year and is designed to continue the step-up we are seeing in the performance of our business.

“Moving to five category-focused Business Groups will enable us to be more responsive to consumer and channel trends, with crystal-clear accountability for delivery.

“Growth remains our top priority and these changes will underpin our pursuit of this.”

The job cuts come following Uniliver’s failed £50m bid to buy the consumer healthcare arm of pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) which is home to brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste, Emergen-C vitamin supplement and Panadol painkiller.

Revelations of the bid triggered a sharp drop in Unilever’s share price, which fell nearly 7% last week, forcing Unilever to effectively abandon its pursuit.

Pressure has been mounting on CEO Jope to justify the bids that were said to be part of a wider effort by Unilever to focus more on health, beauty and hygiene.

It also emerged on Monday that activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners had reportedly built a significant stake in the company and wants to see changes soon.