Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) on Thursday announced the separation of the position of Chairman of the Board and the CEO and Managing Director. It has appointed Nitin Paranjpe, currently Chief Operating Officer, as a Non-Executive Chairman with effect from March 31. Sanjiv Mehta will continue as the Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director (CEO &MD). This comes even as SEBI had recently announced that the decision to separate the roles of Chairman and MD is voluntary. Earlier, the market regulator had made it mandatory for top listed entities.

As part of its corporate restructuring initiative, Unilever had announced in January that Paranjpe will be taking on a new role as Chief Transformation Officer & Chief People Officer. In this position, Paranjpe will be leading the business transformation, and heading the HR function for Unilever effective April 2022. He is also a member of the Supervisory Board of Heineken NV. Paranjpe was formerly CEO Hindustan Unilever before he took on the Unilever COO role in 2019.

While the HUL board has accepted Paranjpe’s nomination, the appointment is subject to approval of the shareholders, which HUL will seek as per applicable regulations.

Commenting on the appointment of Paranjpe, Sanjiv Mehta, the Chairman & Managing Director, HUL said, “We welcome Nitin back to HUL as the Non-Executive Chairman. He brings in huge knowledge and experience which will enrich the deliberations and add value to the Board.” 

Sanjiv Misra, Chairman of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee, said,“Sanjiv has played a stellar role not only in leading the business to high performance in a challenging environment but has also led the Board, most ably, setting high standards of governance and transparency in Board management. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Sanjiv for his contributions as the Chairman and look forward to continuing to work with him in his capacity as the CEO & Managing Director. We would also like to welcome Nitin as the Non-Executive Chairman of the Board.”

Nitin Paranjpe, commenting on his appointment as the Non-Executive Chairman, said, “It’s an honour and a privilege to be appointed as the non-executive Chairman of HUL; one of the most respected companies in the country. I look forward to working closely with Sanjiv and the Board to further strengthen the company and help navigate the challenges and opportunities in the years ahead.”