In a major reshuffle of its top management, fast moving consumer durable major Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has appointed Sanjiv Mehta as its new CEO and Managing Director. Meanwhile, Nitin Paranjpe, the current Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of HUL, has been elevated as the President (Home Care), at the parent company Unilever with effect from October 1, 2013. He was the CEO for last 5 years.

53-year-old Sanjiv Mehta, who was the Chairman, North Africa & Middle East (NAME), will also be responsible for South Asia cluster which includes India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Mehta joined Unilever in October 1992 and has led several Unilever businesses across South Asia, South East Asia and Middle East. He was appointed Chairman and Managing Director of Unilever Bangladesh in 2002. In 2007, he was appointed as Chairman and CEO of Unilever Philippines. He took up his current responsibilities as the Chairman of Unilever NAME in 2008. However, Mehta has not operated in the Indian market. The move has taken a few to surprise given the current economic environment.

Harish Manwani, Chairman, HUL, said, “The changes reflect our strong commitment towards leadership development and our tradition of leveraging experiences and synergies of talent across markets. I wish to take the opportunity to express my deep appreciation for the significant contribution that Paranjpe made to the business in India and his leadership in driving the growth agenda. I would like to congratulate him on his richly deserved elevation to the ULE.”

Paranjpe (50) was appointed as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HUL in April 2008. He is also an Executive Vice President of Unilever Companies in South Asia. He joined the Board of the Company in June 2007.