Ohiwerei, Clark and McGrath to retire from Unilever
The top leadership of the Unilever Nigeria plc will, during the current financial year, take in fresh breath as Felix Ohiwerei, chairman of board of directors has given notice to retire before the year runs out.
Also retiring during the period are Robert Clerk, managing director and chief executive and Mike McGrath, the finance director.
Ohiwerei announced his intention to retire Friday at the companyÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢s 82 annual general meeting (AGM) held in Lagos.
While a replacement for the chairmanship position is yet to be announced, Clerk will be replaced by Thomas Boedinger, while McGrath will be replaced by Robert OÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢Neil, with the two new officers expected to be formally appointed to the board very soon, Ohiwerei said.
James Wandawanda, customer director, has also joined the board.
In his address at the AGM, Ohiwerei, who has been chairman of the company since 1987, said: \"I have already given notice of my intention to retire before the next annual general meeting. It has been my pleasure to guide Unilever Nigeria plc over the last 10 years.\"
He declined a request by the shareholders for him to remain and guide the company back to profitability, as he said the organisation has well groomed executive directors who will comfortably run it and achieve good results.
From dwindling figures in the 2005 financial year to a total loss in the 2006 period, there are signs that the company will bounce back to profitability in the current financial year 2007, going by the first quarter results.
Unilever recorded about N500-million drops in profit to N1.616-billion in 2005 from a profit of N2.167-billion achieved in 2004. It further made a loss of N1.617-billion in the 2006 operational year.
However, the companyÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢s interim result for the first quarter ended March 31 2007 shows a 74 percent growth in turnover compared to what was achieved in the same period of 2006. Pre-tax profit for the period under review stood at over N1.0-billion, indicating a turnaround of over N2.0-billion compared to the performance in the first quarter of last year.
The chairman attributed the development to the positive impact being recorded by the re-structuring efforts made by the board and management during the past year.
He said: \"Having dealt with negative issues in the previous year, I am pleased to report that 2007 has started strongly and reflects the recovery which we began to see during the last quarter of 2006. He expressed optimism that the 2007 financial year will certainly be better.- Businessday