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Thu 30 Nov 2006 08:00 PM

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Unilever reshapes its R&D food division

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Unilever development.

The division will be restructured to provide the focus that can deliver innovations for European and global markets. The reorganisation is part of the ‘One Unilever’ programme to help the company benefit from its size, become more competitive, and allow it to strengthen its focus on customers.

The announcement follows an extensive science and technology review led by Vindi Banga, president of Unilever’s foods category. “The review showed that we have great people and strong capabilities,” Banga said. “However, it also showed that by organising ourselves so that we could leverage our scale and play to our strengths we could improve our market competitiveness. By getting the benefits of focus and synergies, I am convinced that today’s announcement will make a significant difference to our innovation delivery.”

The new structure will see new product development concentrated in six ‘centres of excellence’ across Europe. Each of these centres will establish a world-class technical capability that can be applied across the categories, for global, regional and local innovations. In addition, local adaptation and implementation of foods innovations will be ensured through consolidated country and factory teams.

“Unilever will implement these changes sensitively and professionally, with attention to all affected people. Unilever is committed to working closely with works councils and employees to minimise redundancies and to provide redundancy packages where needed, in line with local legislation and circumstances.” Banga added.

Unilever expects to complete the changes to its European foods R&D division by the end of 2008. Unilever’s current European foods R&D organisation employs 1,160 people in over 60 locations across Europe.

As result of this reorganisation, Unilever will move to 29 foods R&D locations in Europe.

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