Paul Polman

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Paul Polman
Paul Polman 2014.jpg
Paul Polman at the One Young World Conference in 2014
Born Paulus Gerardus Josephus Maria Polman
(1956-07-11) 11 July 1956 (age 58)
Enschede, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Alma mater University of Groningen
University of Cincinnati
Occupation Businessman
Years active 1977–present
Salary €7,960,000 (total compensation, 2014)[1]
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, with three brothers and two sisters, the son of a tyre company executive father and a former schoolteacher mother.[2] Polman had hoped to become a doctor, but medical school places were allocated by lottery and he was not chosen.[2]

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.[3]


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.[4]

For 2014, his total compensation was €7,960,000.[1]

Other responsibilities[edit]

Polman is Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Polman sits on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Goods Forum [5] leading its sustainability efforts; the Board of the UN Global Compact,[6] and is a Board Member of Conservation International. At the invitation of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Polman served 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 served on the International Council of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.[7] Polman was asked by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron to be a British Business Ambassador.

Polman co-founded the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition, led by former Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. He is a member of the World Economic Forum International Business Council,[8] the Global Taskforce for Scaling up Nutrition (SUN)[9] and the European Resource Efficiency Platform Working Group,[10] chaired by European Commissioner Janez Potočnik. He was Co-Chair World Economic Forum 2012. He is a Counsellor of One Young World[11] and Trustee of the Leverhulme Trust. Polman was co-chair of the B-20 Food Security Taskforce.[12]

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.[13] He formerly served on the Board of Alcon.


Polman has received various honorary doctorates (Northumbria University, University of Cincinnati, University of Liverpool, International University of Geneva, University of Groningen, Business School Lausanne)

In addition, Polman has received numerous awards for his leadership and efforts in sustainable development, including: European Business Leader of the year by Wall Street Journal/CNBC (2003), Carl Lindner Honors Award (2006), Inspired Leadership Award - the Performance Theatre Foundation (2010), Investor Magazine CEO of the year (2010,2011,2012), First Award for Responsible Capitalism by Rt Honourable William Hague (2012), CK Prahalad Global Sustainability Leadership Award (2012), PODER Business CEO Leader Award (2012), Atlantic Council Award for Distinguished Business Leadership (2012), INSEAD Business Leader for the World Award (2012), WWF's Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal (2013), Commitment to Development Ideas in Action Award (2013), Rainforest Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award (2014), David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership award - Synergos (2014), Guardian Sustainable Business Award - Leader of the Year (2014), Champion for Global Change Award - UN Foundation (2014).

Personal life[edit]

Polman is married to Kim and they have three children. He met his American wife on a collective bargaining course.[14]

He 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]