By Scott Kanowsky
Investing.com -- Unilever PLC (LON: ULVR ) has announced that chief executive officer Alan Jope will retire from the consumer goods company at the end of next year.
In a statement, Jope - who will have served as CEO for five years when he departs in 2023 - said that this was the "right time" for Unilever's board to begin a search for his successor.
"Growth remains our top priority, and in the quarters ahead I will remain fully focused on disciplined execution of our strategy, and leveraging the full benefits of our new organisation," Jope added.
The London-based firm, whose brands include Hellmann's condiments and Dove soap, said it will begin a formal consideration of both internal and external candidates to replace Jope.
Chairman Nils Andersen credited Jope for overhauling Unilever's strategy, structure, and organization, which has "strongly" put it in the position for success.
Analysts at Jefferies said they see Jope's retirement as a positive development because the long lead time before his period at Unilever ends will help maintain continuity in the running of the company.
Shares in Unilever rose in early trading on Monday following the announcement.
In July, Unilever raised its guidance for annual sales growth to above the previous range of 4.5% to 6.5%, citing the effect of price increases to combat soaring input costs. The group said these higher prices will also help offset a potential fall in overall sales volumes.
But Jope warned that pressure from soaring inflation will increase further in 2022, while the global macroeconomic outlook remains "uncertain."
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