Guest Articles

November 30

NextBillion Editor

NB Quick Takes: Polman’s Out at Unilever – Let the Legacy Debate Begin!

You’ve probably heard by now, but in case you didn’t, Paul Polman is retiring as CEO of Unilever at the end of the year. Perhaps no other executive has been as closely associated with corporate social responsibility as Polman. Indeed, Polman pushed his company, not to mention multinational business culture writ large, into some, shall we say, unfamiliar territory.

More than any CEO we can think of, Polman put issues such as fighting climate change, improving the lives of workers and embedding social impact at the forefront of his agenda. That’s not to say all of those initiatives were successful, nor were they without detractors. No doubt there will be lots of discussion about Polman’s approach and its effectiveness at Unilever, not to mention its influence across the business world. In the meantime, the news of his departure is generating quite a response.

We’re gathering some memorable Twitter reactions below. Do you have an opinion on Polman’s legacy and impact? We’d would love to hear from you in our comments section, or through a blog contribution to our site. Get in touch with us at
















Photo credit: Stars Foundation, via Flickr.




Social Enterprise, Uncategorized
social enterprise