LONDON: Following the appointment in June of former non-executive director Professor Geneviève Berger (pictured) as chief research and development  officer, Anglo-Dutch fmcg giant Unilever is to consolidate all R&D for foods, home and personal care products into a single organisation, spread across six global centres.

Reads a Unilever statement: "The intention ... marks a significant step forward in increasing its efficiency, simplicity and focus in R&D. Through the intended changes, Unilever will be able to deliver an integrated R&D programme, reduce overlap in activities between sites and increase the speed and impact of innovations.''

India is likely to be one of the main beneficiaries of the move, according to a spokesperson: "The re-shaping of Unilever R&D will mean a further building up of resources in India, including adding a further thirty or so roles.

"The build-up of resources will primarily be in laundry [brands]. This also means that India becomes one of six strategic R&D sites, part of the integrated global research programme – not [merely] 'outsourcing' from India."

For research, Unilever has chosen six strategic sites to deliver an integrated research programme …

  • Vlaardingen (Netherlands)
  • Port Sunlight (northern England)
  • Colworth Science Park (southern England)
  • Trumbull (Connecticut, USA)
  • Bangalore (India)
  • Shanghai (China)
For product design and deployment, Unilever will consolidate activities in the Americas in Englewood Cliffs (New Jersey, USA), Valinhos (Brazil) and Mexico City (Mexico).

While global Laundry R&D will be consolidated in Vlaardingen, Port Sunlight and Mumbai.

The project is an integral part of the conglomerate's One Unilever programme, as is the creation of the single category function.

Says Berger (53): "The steps we have announced today will enable us to go further in focussing our resources on creating fewer, bigger innovations, and deploying them at scale in areas where we want to win."

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff