India’s largest FMCG company Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) today announced Rohit Jawa will take over as the new managing director and CEO of the company from June 27, 2023, after a decade-long tenure of Sanjiv Mehta with HUL comes to an end with his retirement.

Jawa will join as HUL CEO designate and whole-time director from April 1, 2023, and will also take over as president of Unilever South Asia. He will also join the Unilever Leadership Executive from April 1, 2023. 

Fifty-six-year-old Rohit is currently the chief of transformation for Unilever in London, where he has led the end-to-end transformation of the company since January 2022. 

After starting his career with HUL as a management trainee in 1988, Jawa rose through the ranks and worked across different markets, including India, South East Asia, and North Asia. As EVP for North Asia and chairman for Unilever China, he led a “significant transformation” of Unilever China, now Unilever’s 3rd biggest globally, says a company statement. 

As the chairman of Unilever Philippines, he led the business to become one of the top 10 markets for Unilever globally, it said. “Rohit’s ability to integrate the strength of traditional markets with digital technologies and future-fit business models position him well to take HUL into its next growth phase.” 

Sanjiv Mehta, 62, had taken over as the MD & CEO of HUL in October 2013. “During his decade at the helm, the business crossed the 50 thousand crore turnover mark and the market capitalisation increased more than four times from $17 billion to $75 billion, reinforcing HUL as one of India’s most valuable businesses,” says the statement.

The company said he introduced several transformative business programmes such as ‘Dial Up the Big Q’ and ‘Winning in Many Indias’ to make the business more consumer-centric, agile, and resilient. He also kickstarted the ‘Reimagine HUL’ agenda by leveraging data, harnessing the latest technologies, and designing business models.

Fortune India in September 2022 had also reported that Mehta had been able to use data and technology to re-imagine HUL. “We are able to capture the trends from across the world in real-time. What is happening across the globe, what duration it will take to come here and who is adopting it, we have all the data. We convert that into mixes, we have a library of perfumes, we have 3D machines, which make prototypes and we also do testing virtually,” Mehta said.

He was also instrumental in several strategic mergers and acquisitions such as the amalgamation of GSK Consumer Healthcare into HUL, one of the biggest mergers in the history of FMCG in the country. 

Nitin Paranjpe, non-executive chairman, HUL said Sanjiv with his foresight led HUL to become a high-performing and future-fit business. “He has been an integral part of the Unilever leadership executive and has driven the South Asia growth agenda as the president of the market cluster.” He welcomed Rohit, saying he has a deep understanding of the business landscape, particularly in Asia and has led the transformation of Unilever businesses in China and the Philippines.  

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