Paul Polman

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Paul Polman
Paul Polman - World Economic Forum on East Asia 2011.jpg
Paul Polman at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in 2011
Born Paulus Gerardus Josephus Maria Polman
(1956-07-11) 11 July 1956 (age 58)
Enschede, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Alma mater University of Groningen and University of Cincinnati
Occupation Businessman
Years active 1977–present
Title CEO of Unilever
Term 2009-present
Predecessor Patrick Cescau
Successor Incumbent
Spouse(s) Kim
Children 3

Paulus Gerardus Josephus Maria Polman (born 11 July 1956) is the CEO of the multinational Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever.

Early life[edit]

Polman was born and grew up in the Dutch city of Enschede and has 3 brothers and 2 sisters.

From the University of Groningen he gained a BBA/BA in 1977. From the University of Cincinnati he gained an MA in Economics and an MBA in Finance and International Marketing (both) in 1979.


Procter & Gamble[edit]

Polman worked for Procter & Gamble for 27 years (from 1979), initially as a Cost Analyst, becoming Managing Director of P&G UK from 1995 to 1998, President of Global Fabric Care from 1998 to 2001, and Group President Europe in 2001.


Polman then joined Nestlé in 2006 as Chief Financial Officer and Head of the Americas.[1]


On 1 January 2009, Polman succeeded Patrick Cescau as Chief Executive Officer of Unilever. This had been announced in September 2008. Unilever's main headquarters are based in London and Rotterdam. Under Polman's leadership, Unilever has set out an ambitious vision to double its size while reducing its overall environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

Other responsibilities[edit]

Polman sits on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Goods Forum [2] leading its sustainability efforts; the Board of the UN Global Compact, he is Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and a Board Member of Conservation International. In 2012, Polman was appointed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as one of the 27 members of the UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. At the invitation of former Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, Polman serves on the International Council of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.[unreliable source?][importance?] Polman was recently asked by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron to be a British Business Ambassador.

Polman co-founded the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition, currently led by former Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. He is a member of the World Economic Forum International Business Council. the Global Taskforce for Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) and the European Resource Efficiency Platform Working Group, chaired by European Commissioner Janez Potočnik. He was Co-Chair World Economic Forum 2012. He is a Counsellor of One Young World and Trustee of the Leverhulme Trust. Polman was co-chair of the B-20 Food Security Taskforce.

Polman serves on the Board of Unilever since January 2009 and was elected to the Dow Board of Directors in February 2010 where he serves on the Environment, Health, Safety and Technology Committee.[3] He formerly served on the Board of Alcon.


Polman has received honorary doctorates from Northumbria University (LLD, 2000) and the University of Cincinnati (2009). In 2011, he gave the Durland Lecture at Cornell University.[4]

Other accolades include: European Business Leader of the year by Wall Street Journal/CNBC in 2003, Carl Lindner Honors Award 2006, Chief Financial Officer of the Year - Investor Magazine 2007, elected as Business Leader of the World by Insead in 2012, Atlantic Council Award for Distinguished Business Leadership in 2012, CK Prahalad Award for Global Sustainability Leadership, First Award for Responsible Capitalism by Rt Honourable William Hague, Investor Magazine CEO of year 2010,2011,2012, CEO Leader Award Poder/ABC. In 2013, Polman was awarded WWF's Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal. The Center for Global Development and Foreign Policy Magazine awarded Polman the 2013 Commitment to Development Ideas in Action Award for a range of activities including his global leadership in efforts to reduce tropical deforestation, and important driver of climate change.

Personal life[edit]

Polman is married with three children and enjoys mountaineering, running and classic car racing. He is President of Kilimanjaro Blind Trust, a foundation he created to focus on blind children in Africa, and Chairman of Perkins International Advisory Board.


External links[edit]

News items[edit]