Unilever merges home and food units

LONDON - Unilever, the world's second-biggest-spending advertiser, is to merge its home and personal care unit with its foods division.

After the merger, one unit will handle marketing for brands including Hellmann's, Surf, Knorr, Lipton, Flora, Domestos and Comfort. There are, however, no immediate plans to merge the companies' marketing budgets.

The change is part of the company's biggest senior management shake-up since Patrick Cescau became chief executive in 2005.

Vindi Banga, currently president of the foods division, will also oversee home and personal care from May. Harish Manwani, currently president-Asia/Africa, will add central and eastern Europe to his duties, as Unilever increases its focus on emerging markets.

Meanwhile, Doug Baillie will move from chief executive of Hindustan Lever to become president for Western Europe, which will now operate as a separate unit from the rest of Europe.

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