From JBIMS to Unilever COO, journey on for Harish Manwani

Add Review News Desk |
December 13, 2012
Harish Manwani is a business entrepreneur and Unilever's first global chief operating officer
Mr Manwani was appointed the global COO of Unilever in June 2011
Harish Manwani is a business entrepreneur and Unilever's first global chief operating officer. He is Unilever's geographical president of Asia, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. Being a devouring and devoted golfer, he also loves playing bridge occasionally. Harish Manwani is a go-getter and is known for his consistent performance. He is a man who believes in relentless execution. Visiting customers is one of the must-dos in Harish Manwani's list every time he visits a country. “This is the only way to stay connected; churning out papers in air-conditioned offices doesn’t help,” he had said in an interview with a business daily.

Education: Mr Manwani holds a bachelor degree in statistics and economics and a master degree in management studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies in Mumbai. He completed his MBA in 1976. Mr Manwani also attended the advanced management program at Harvard Business School.

Career: Mr Harish Manwani (58) assumed charge as the non-executive chairman of Hindustan Unilever with effect from July 1, 2005. He is also the chief operating officer of Unilever and a member of Unilever Leadership Executive. Mr. Manwani joined the company in 1976. He joined the board of the company in 1995 as a director responsible for the personal products business. In addition, he held regional responsibility as the category leader for personal products for the then Central Asia & Middle East (CAME) Group.

In 2000, Mr Manwani moved to the UK as a senior vice-president for the global hair care and oral care categories and in early 2001, he was appointed president – home & personal care (HPC), Latin America Business Group. He has also served as the chairman of Unilever’s Latin America Advisory Council. In 2004, he was appointed president and CEO of the HPC North America Business Group. In April 2005, Mr Manwani was elevated to the post of the president – Asia & Africa. Mr Manwani was appointed the global COO of Unilever in June 2011. He is a member of the compensation committee of the company.

Professional affiliations: As a noted corporate leader and business entrepreneur, Harish Manwani is and has been on the boards of various companies. He has been a director of Whirlpool Corp since August 15, 2011, and serves as a director of Kimberly Clark Lever Ltd. Mr Manwani served as a member of the supervisory board of ING Verzekeringen NV and ING Bank NV. He served as a member of the supervisory board at ING Groep NV from 2008 to April 2010. Mr Manwni was a member of the board of governors at the Advertising Standards Council of India and a member of the executive council of the Indian Society of Advertisers. In 2008, he received the CNBC Asia’s ‘Business Leader of the Year’ award.

Beliefs: A proclaimed workaholic, Mr Harish Manwani always believes in two things – first, leadership is all about having the right people around and respecting them. That’s why the attrition rate in HUL’s management positions is just six per cent compared with 10-12 per cent in the industry. Secondly, he strongly believes “there will be rivals who are always doing something smart, but all of us at Unilever know we will have to keep doing things smarter. That’s what we are paid for”. Somebody is free to describe it as a quotable quote, but for the Unilever global COO, it is the mantra that he has been following throughout his professional life.

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