LONDON: Unilever announced Friday it will axe around forty senior managers as the consumer products mammoth consolidates its five UK business units into just two: foods (including ice cream) and home and personal care.

The company's top marketing team is drastically slimmed from five to just two directors: Paul Nevett for foods and Matt Close for home and personal care, each reporting directly to Unilever's UK chairman Dave Lewis.

Among the casualties are the marketing directors for home and personal care, Jacqui Hill; ice cream, Anuj Lal; and chilled foods, Lysanne Gray. The trio may be redeployed elsewhere within the group, according to a company spokesman.

Overall, the decimation will result in the disappearance of between 300 and 350 jobs by the end of 2008. They will range across the marketing, sales, finance and human resources operations.

The spokesman said the changes are part of the group's worldwide 'One Unilever' programme, which has already occasioned the loss of 27,000 staff. Moreover, the group's senior management headcount is down 30% compared with 2004.

Unilever's UK sales and profits have improved under the leadership of ceo Patrick Cescau, but its margins (13.6% in 2006) have failed to satiate the appetites of the Wall Street and London EC2 trolls.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff