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Chesebrough-Pond's, Helene Curtis & Lever Brothers Unite To Form One Company.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 25, 1997--

Outgrowth of Unilever Global Reorganization

Three of the best-known consumer products companies in the United States, each an operating unit of Unilever, are joining forces to form a single company to be known as Unilever Home & Personal Care USA. The effective date will be October 1, 1997.

Joining forces are Chesebrough-Pond's, Greenwich, CT; Helene Curtis, Chicago, IL; and Lever Brothers, New York, NY. These companies manufacture and sell some of the country's most well- known home and personal care products.

The new company will have annual sales in excess of $3.7 billion.

"By bringing together Chesebrough-Pond's, Helene Curtis and Lever Brothers, we unite three successful companies with unique strengths, great traditions and proud histories," said Robert M. Phillips, president, Unilever Home & Personal Care North America. "With the formation of Unilever Home & Personal Care USA, we will be better able to leverage the scale and scope of the new organization to become stronger competitors in our markets across the country. The combined company will also help to better meet all of the needs of our consumers and customers. The goal of all these businesses is greater growth and profitability," he said.

In 1996, Unilever announced a reorganization of its global consumer products businesses into 12 Business Groups, one of which is Unilever Home & Personal Care North America (HPC NA). The HPC NA Business Group includes the three businesses now being combined as well as Calvin Klein Cosmetics and Elizabeth Arden, both of New York City and Lever Pond's Canada, Toronto. Arden and Klein manage their businesses globally and are not affected by today's announcement. Also not affected is the structure of Lever Pond's Canada, which was created in 1996 when Lever Brothers and Chesebrough-Pond's, both located in Canada, were successfully combined.

A NEW STRUCTURE FOR GROWTH

Unilever Home & Personal Care USA will consist of three independently operating Business Units and six core Business Processes. Each Business Unit will focus on specific categories and be directly responsible for marketing, development, product innovation, consumer understanding and finance for those categories. The three Business Units and assigned categories are:

Chesebrough-Pond's Business Unit -- Personal Wash, Skin & Oral Care categories

Its brands include Aim, Caress, Close-up, Dove (bar and beauty), Lever 2000, Lifebuoy, Lux, Mentadent, Pepsodent, Pond's, Q-tips, Shield, Vaseline Intensive Care and Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.

Helene Curtis Business Unit -- Deodorant & Hair Care categories

Its brands include Aqua Net, Brut, Degree, Finesse, Rave, Salon Selectives, Suave, and Vibrance Organic Care.

Lever Brothers Business Unit -- Laundry & Household Care categories

Its brands include "all", Dove (dish), Final Touch, Rinso, Snuggle, Sunlight, Surf, and Wisk.

The six core Business Processes will be Customer Management, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Law and Operations. These centralized groups will provide services and resources to the Business Units.

"The new structure allows us to focus all consumer and customer- related category information, activity and resources within a single Business Unit," Phillips said.

"This will enable us to take maximum advantage of the best practices that exist within the three individual companies to improve upon the way we operate," he said. "The implications for consumers and customers are better service, stronger brands and, thus, better value."

New Leadership

Robert M. Phillips, president of Unilever Home & Personal Care North America, will also serve as president of Unilever Home & Personal Care USA. He will lead an Executive Board made up of the heads of each of the Business Units and Business Processes. The Board will be responsible for the leadership of Unilever Home & Personal Care USA.

Phillips announced the following leadership appointments:

Paul Garwood, currently senior vice president, Lever Brothers, will become executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Lever Brothers Business Unit.

Ron Gidwitz, currently president, Helene Curtis, will remain president of the Helene Curtis Business Unit.

John Rice, currently executive vice president and chief operating officer, Lever Brothers, will become executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Chesebrough-Pond's Business Unit.

Paul Dolan, in addition to his current responsibilities as senior vice president, Operations, Unilever Home & Personal Care North America, will lead Operations as senior vice president, Unilever Home & Personal Care USA.

David Jones, in addition to his current responsibilities as senior vice president, Finance and Information Technology, Unilever Home & Personal Care North America, will lead Finance and Information Technology as senior vice president, Unilever Home & Personal Care USA.

Jim McCall, in addition to his current responsibilities as senior vice president, Human Resources, Unilever Home & Personal Care North America, will lead Human Resources as senior vice president, Unilever Home & Personal Care USA.

Gil Smith, in addition to his current responsibilities as senior vice president, Customer Management, Unilever Home & Personal Care North America, will lead Customer Management as senior vice president, Unilever Home & Personal Care USA.

Ron Soiefer, in addition to his current responsibilities as general counsel, Unilever United States, will lead Law as general counsel, Unilever Home & Personal Care North America and Unilever Home & Personal Care USA.

"This team of talented individuals will effectively lead our new company into the future," Phillips, said. "They are experienced and results-oriented, with long and successful track records in managing consumer products businesses around the world."

BACKGROUND: Unilever is one of the world's largest consumer product companies with annual sales exceeding $47 billion. It produces and markets a wide range of foods, home and personal care products. Unilever operates in 90 countries around the globe and employs almost 300,000 people.

In the United States, Unilever's sales exceeded $8 billion in 1996. It employs 21,000 people and has more than 85 offices and manufacturing sites in 24 states. Two of Unilever's 12 global Business Groups are headquartered in the United States. Some of their major products are: Foods - North America: Lipton teas, soups, recipe products and side dishes; Wish-Bone salad dressings; Lawry's seasonings and specialty sauces; Klondike, Popsicle and Breyers ice cream products, and Gorton's frozen seafood products. Unilever Home & Personal Care - North America: Wisk, "all" and Surf laundry detergents; Lever 2000, Caress and Dove bars and body washes and Shield soap; Q-tips cotton swabs and cotton balls; Mentadent, Aim, Close-up and Pepsodent oral care products; Finesse, Salon Selectives, Aqua Net and Rave hair care products; and Calvin Klein and Elizabeth Arden cosmetic and fragrance products.

CONTACT: Unilever Home & Personal Care North America

John T. Gould, Jr.

212-906-4694

203-329-7590
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 25, 1997
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