Alan Jope Unilever

Unilever CEO Alan Jope

Alan Jope is to retire as chief executive of Unilever at the end of 2023 following investor discontent over lacklustre performance during his time leading one of the world’s largest consumer goods groups (The Financial Times £).

The surprise announcement follows Jope’s controversial attempt in January to acquire the consumer health division of GSK, formerly GlaxoSmithKline, and comes only two months after the appointment of the activist investor Nelson Peltz to the board of Unilever (The Times £).

Jope will step down as chief executive at the end of 2023 following a period in which it has been criticised for ‘woke’ decision-making and clashed with the founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (The Mail).

His departure at the end of 2023 will come after 37 years with the London-headquartered company and five at the top, during which his main focus has been dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, including the disruption to global supply chains and spending habits (The Guardian).

The Lex column in The Financial Times (£) says Jope’s exit leaves a growth job to do with the company’s next boss needing to lay out a coherent competing vision.

A business editorial in The Times (£) is stinging in its criticism of Jope’s ill-fated Haleon bid. “Knock off the £10bn debt in Jope’s bid and he was offering quite a premium to Haleon’s present £26bn market value while Unilever’s dodged a bullet over Zantac litigation too,” Alastair Osborne writes.

The head of Aldi in the UK has pledged to do “whatever it takes” to maintain the discounter’s price advantage despite a sharp fall in the group’s profits last year (The Financial Times £).

Aldi has revealed a steep drop in UK profits but said that customers were switching to the discount supermarket chain “in their droves” from higher-cost rivals as the cost of living crisis bites and shoppers look for lower prices (The Guardian).

The British arm of German discount supermarket Aldi saw its operating profit slump by 79% to £60.2m last year (The Mail).

The German supermarket said that sales in the 12 weeks to 4 September rose 18.7% compared with the same period last year as 1.5 million extra customers searched for more affordable food (The Times £).

A £500m deal to buy a portfolio of supermarkets from Sainsbury’s has fallen through, with the London-listed property investor LXi REIT blaming the “current stock market volatility” (The Times £).

Thousands of high street chemists could vanish within two years because of high inflation and static NHS funding, researchers have warned (The Times £).

Chapel Down is set to turn to external financing to fund construction of a new winery near Canterbury costing between £20m and £30m (The Times £).

Kate Swann, the former boss of WH Smith and SSP Group, is to become the new chairwoman of Alzheimer’s Research UK and is determined to help lead the search for cures for dementia after witnessing the impact of the disease on her mother (The Times £).