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• The Wall Street Journal reports that Unilever has named Alan Jope, a company “lifer” who currently runs its beauty and personal care business, to succeed CEO Paul Polman, effective January 1.

The story says that the move is “the latest in a series of high-profile departures of consumer-goods bosses—an unprecedented changing of the guard as the industry faces down a raft of challenges. Among these is a broad-based retreat by consumers in many big western markets from the well-known brands the industry has made and marketed for decades … The industry also is grappling with rising commodity costs, volatile emerging markets and fierce competition from Inc. and discount chains that are increasingly launching own-label products.”

Under Polman’s leadership, the Journal writes, “Unilever has shifted toward faster-growing segments in personal and home care while jettisoning lagging food businesses like spreads and pasta sauce.” In addition, he had fended off “a $143 billion takeover approach from Kraft Heinz Co. Since then he has launched share buybacks, raised margin targets, further shuffled Unilever’s portfolio and accelerated a restructuring to make the company more agile.”

However, Polman was seen in some quarters as being “divisive, riling some investors by flying around the world to speak at sustainability conferences and openly deriding the short-termism of the investment community.”

• C-store chain Sheetz announced that Travis Sheetz, the company’s executive vice president and a nephew of the company’s founder, will take on the role of president/COO. He will be the first COO in the company’s history.

His brother, Joe Sheetz, remains as CEO.

Adam Sheetz, grandson of the founder, has been named vice president of operations.
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