Unilever has announced CEO Alan Jope will step down from his role at the end of 2023.

Jope has informed the board of his intention to retire from the company at the end of 2023, after five years in the role.

Unilever’s board said it will now proceed with a formal search for a successor and will consider both internal and external candidates.

Chairman Nils Andersen said: “Unilever has seen improved performance, enabled by its clear strategic choices and a significant company transformation. The Board will now conduct an orderly succession process and support Alan and the management team in further driving the performance of Unilever.

“Alan’s retirement next year will mark the end of a remarkable career with Unilever. Under his leadership, Unilever has made critical changes to its strategy, structure and organisation that position it strongly for success. This work continues, and we will thank Alan wholeheartedly for his leadership and contribution to our business when he leaves next year.”

Jope added: “As I approach my fifth year as CEO, and after more than 35 years in Unilever, I believe now is the right time for the Board to begin the formal search for my successor.

“Growth remains our top priority, and in the quarters ahead I will remain fully focused on disciplined execution of our strategy, and leveraging the full benefits of our new organisation.”

Jefferies analyst Martin Deboo suggested investors would not be overly disappointed by the announcement.

“Jope’s reputation took a heavy knock on the back of the rejected bid for what is now Haleon, plus some unwelcome earnings surprises,” he wrote in a note.

“The long lead time on his departure should facilitate continuity into what is a big organisational change and allow the board to think and look hard about Unilever’s next leader.”

Unilever shares were up 1.3% today to 4,079.5p on the news.