Unilever initiates ice cream unit spin-off, announces job cuts in cost-saving move

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Unilever, the consumer goods giant, has unveiled plans to spin off its ice cream unit into a standalone business as part of a comprehensive cost-saving program. The restructuring initiative is expected to result in the reduction of approximately 7,500 jobs, predominantly in office-based roles, with anticipated savings of around $869 million over the next three years. This move, aimed at driving faster growth and higher margins, is anticipated to impact approximately 1.2% of the company’s turnover.

CEO Hein Schumacher, acknowledging the company’s underperformance in recent years, outlined a strategy to streamline operations and focus on key brands accounting for 70% of sales. The decision to separate the ice cream unit aligns with this strategy, allowing Unilever to concentrate on a portfolio of unmissable brands with strong market positions and complementary operating models. Schumacher emphasized that the restructuring measures would be conducted with careful consideration for impacted employees, affirming a commitment to consultation and respect throughout the process.

Unilever’s Growth Action Plan (GAP), initiated in October 2023, aims to optimize the company’s portfolio, enhance productivity, and cultivate a performance-driven culture. The separation of the ice cream business is expected to expedite the implementation of GAP, enabling Unilever to focus its resources on strategic priorities and pursue consistent and robust growth opportunities. Additionally, the company will continue to refine its portfolio within its four Business Groups, emphasizing brands with global reach and significant growth potential.

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