‘Changing the philosophy And Not Rewiring’- Sanjeev Mehta

You took over the company when the growth dipped significantly. What was the mandate given to you?
After completing 25 years with Unilever I started in Dubai when Unilever had come onshore in the middle-east. Launching many brands and we are working like a new startup. Later I got an offer to go to Bangladesh where they were losing the market share. After turning around the business I became the Chairman of Unilever Bangladesh. Then I moved to Philipines, North Africa, and the Middle East. When I took over as a chairman, Unilever had expanded into 20 countries in the region. We also won the Compass award which is the greatest award in the Unilever world when our business went hike in Egypt.

What did you tell your team when you took over?
I sent a two-three page note to my management committee about what I wanted to see and not what they wanted to show me. During the first three months, I met many consumers, competitors and asked whether what was their thought about HUL. Their answers helped me to know what I should do.

Also, one thing that struck my mind was all the countries I was working for are all homogeneous than India. One language and one country but whereas India as several languages, culture etc. So India can’t be considered as one unit. I Introduced Winning In Many Indians to my team. This is about changing the philosophy of the company.

Was the entry of  Patanjali or others which disrupted the market one of the triggers for change in HUL?
Lever Ayush was launched at the beginning of the millennium. Naturals are not just like one company introduce. There are many others competitors in the market.

What is your digital re-imagination strategy about?
We had set-up an e-commerce model and brought talent from outside. Presently the e-commerce is much higher than the business itself. All the digitization are the backbone which will have an impact on our industry.

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