Sanjiv Mehta, the outgoing MD and CEO at Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is gearing up for fresh innings after he retires in June.
“I am excitedly looking forward to my next inning. I am reminded of Robert Frost’s famous lines … “Miles to go before I sleep” Mehta said in a farewell note..
Mehta stated that during the last ten years, the company added €4 billion (₹32,000 crores) to the turnover increasing it by 2.3x in a farewell address.
“The market capitalisation increased by 5x to over $70 billion which is more than the market cap of many global FMCG companies including Kraft Heinz, Reckitt Benckiser, General Mills, Colgate, and many more. Just the market cap increase in the last 10 years would have made HUL the 10th most valuable. It is not just the numbers but the capabilities we have built to reinvent the Company.
Winning in Many Indias (WiMI) strategy recognises the heterogeneity of India and has given us a significant competitive edge and is hard to replicate. We have taken the science and art of Market Development (or Market Making) to a new level altogether. Today, these new segments constitute over 20 per cent of our turnover. ‘Re-imagine HUL’ agenda is a great example of a legacy company re-inventing itself with data and technology,” stated Sanjiv Mehta.
Mehta served for 21 years as CEO for Unilever businesses across the world.
“In the early years of this millennium, I took over as the Chairman and MD of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd. We turned around a business that was reeling and in deep trouble into one of the finest companies in the country while delivering mid-teens growth. In the Philippines during my tenure as the CEO and Chairman of Unilever Philippines Inc, we fought a pitched battle and took over leadership of the biggest category from our archrival in what has gone down in marketing folklore as one of the finest victories. During my time as Chairman of Unilever, North Africa and the Middle East we navigated the financial crisis and the Arab spring and despite the massive crisis in the region, delivered market-beating double-digit growth over the five years,” said Mehta.
Further, Mehta stated the philosophy of aligning with the national agenda under a simple but profound principle of ‘what is good for India is good for HUL’ held the company in good stead.
“Our purpose-driven brands have changed behaviours at scale and are a great example of being a force for good. The number of women in management has increased from under 20 per cent to 45 per cent and we are on course to becoming gender-balanced management by 2025. Hindustan Unilever Foundation working in thousands of villages together with our partners has created a water potential of over 2 trillion liters.
Our Suvidha centers in the slums of Mumbai provide a life of dignity to lakhs of slum dwellers. Our Project Shakti has added over 1.5 lakh women micro-entrepreneurs in deep rural areas. Our Prabhat initiative which we launched ten years back has positively impacted over 9 million individuals in rural areas. The Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital which we created by converting an old oil tanker into a hospital ship plies across different islands in Bangladesh and has provided healthcare to over a million people,” added Mehta.