Unilever has a new chairman: Former Carlsberg CEO Nils Andersen replaces Marijn Dekkers

It seems to be turning out to be a season of changing chairmen and CEOs. Unilever is the latest company to replace its chairman. The British-Dutch consumer goods company on Wednesday announced non-executive director and Danish businessman Nils Andersen as its new chairman.

Andersen will replace Marjin Dekkers, who served as the company's chairman for the past three and a half years. Dekkers will step down with immediate effect and will continue to serve a non-executive director.

Andersen has been a member of Unilever's board since 2015. The announcement follows the appointment of Scottish Alan Jope, who took over as the company's chief executive officer earlier this year. "I look forward to working with the Board and the Unilever Leadership team to support the company's continued growth," said Andersen in a statement.

Besides Unilever, Anderson is also a non-executive director at British oil and gas giant, British Petroleum and chairman of Denmark's, Salling Group. However, he is due to step down from both the post in March 2020.

In a separate statement, Dekkers wished Andersen and also said that the decision to step down was a "difficult one to make but I want to see Unilever go from strength to strength." Dekkers drew the ire of investors last year when he tried to drop London and consolidate the company's dual headquarter structure in Rotterdam.

Dekkers, however, will continue to be on Unilever's board, He will be focusing on his duties as founder and chairman of life sciences investment and advisory firm Novalis LifeSciences.

Unilever Logo
The logo of Unilever is seen at the headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

Unilever expect a lot from Andersen

Unilever has been facing quite a few challenges lately, with its two biggest markets, India and China, facing slowdown. India and China have been Unilever's two main markets for its food and cosmetic products. This has been taking a toll on the company's sales over the last few quarters.

Moreover, the company lately has been trying to push Unilever's foods in order to grab a bigger market share. However, it has been facing challenges to penetrate the low-growth categories like tea, mayo and condiments.

The consumer goods giant has been making internal leadership changes for the last over one year but hasn't tasted much success. Andersen will join Jope in carving out a bigger market share in these categories. Andersen was earlier the chief executive officer of Carlsberg and shipping giant AP Moller Maersk.

Under Andersen's leadership in 2001, share prices of Carlsberg doubled in two years, before he left for Maersk.