Unilever bosses' 'jobs at risk over HQ move'

By Mark Kleinman, City editor
The chairman of Unilever and other board members are at risk of huge investor revolts at next year's annual general meeting over their handling of plans to scrap the consumer goods giant's UK headquarters.
Sky News has learnt that several large institutional shareholders are already drawing up plans to oppose the re-election of Marijn Dekkers, the Dove- and Lynx-maker's chairman since 2016, and Professor Youngme Moon, its senior independent director, next year.
One of Unilever's top ten investors also said on Friday that they were likely to vote against Graeme Pitkethly, the chief financial officer, over the "aggressive" way he had attempted to justify the domicile move.Mr Dekkers flew into London this week for meetings with shareholders including M&G Investments and Schroders, the first of which has said it will vote against plans to unify Unilever's headquarters in the Netherlands late next month.
Unilever bosses' 'jobs at risk over HQ move'

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The company has also taken out newspaper advertisements this week in an effort to persuade small investors - whose support it may also need - that little will change beyond its future exclusion from the UK's blue-chip share index if it scraps its UK HQ.One fund manager who met with Mr Dekkers said he had been "entirely unconvincing" in arguing that Unilever could neither pursue a demerger or a major stock-based US acquisition if its corporate structure remained in its current form."He did not have any substance to back up those assertions," said the source.Other investors which have said they will vote against the shift include Aviva Investors, Lindsell Train and Columbia Threadneedle.The increasingly fractious row between Unilever and many of its large investors is exacerbating doubts about the outcome of the poll, with the company needing 75% of its UK shareholders to approve the move.If it wins the vote, Unilever would axe its long-standing status as a UK-headquartered company, dislodging it from the FTSE-100 index and incurring substantial tax bills for shareholders who are forced to sell shares.
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