Major U.S. Business: Unilever Group Information and History

About the major U.S. business Unilever Group, information, history, size, location, and boss or management.



Location--Unilever Group and Unilever, Ltd., have headquarters in Unilever House in London. Unilever N.V. has headquarters in Rotterdam. In the U.S., Lever Brothers' headquarters are at 390 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022, while Thomas J. Lipton, Inc., is at 800 Sylvian Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 07632.

How Created--The result of the 1930 merger of Britain's Lever Brothers and Holland's Margarine Union. Lever Brothers, Ltd., was formed June 21, 1894, to manufacture soaps. N.V. Margarine Unie was formed November 9, 1927, to manufacture edible fats, and it bought Anton Jurgens' Vereenigde Fabrieken N.V. from the Jurgens family and Van den Bergh's Fabrieken N.V. from the Van den Bergh family. Lever Brothers and Margarine Union decided to merge their companies because both used the same raw materials and were expanding into each other's marketing areas.

Size--The world's largest manufacturer of consumer packaged goods, Unilever manufactures and markets its products in 70 countries on 6 continents.

Population--353,000 employees.

Who Rules--Unilever's overall management is the responsibility of a 3-man special committee, which directs the coordination of major corporate policy, controls capital investment, and makes top executive assignments. The British and Dutch companies have identical 24-member boards of directors, and every director is also a Unilever executive who oversees the operations of one of the company's geographical regions or product lines. The directors are elected by 93,728 stockholders owning 183,067,262 ordinary shares of Unilever, Ltd., 1,307 stockholders owning preference shares of Unilever, Ltd., and an unknown number of shareholders owning Unilever N.V. preference shares and 32,008,250 Unilever N.V. ordinary shares.

Who REALLY Rules--In 1969, 18% of Unilever's ordinary shares were held by the Leverhulme Trust, whose beneficiaries are Lord Leverhulme and a Unilever subsidiary. Corporations held 48% of the ordinary shares, and individuals the remaining 34%. As in the case of U.S. corporation, Unilever's major stockholders include banks.

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