Tim Munden (Chief Learning Officer) shares his applicant advice!


Tim Munden  – Chief Learning Officer


Please tell us a bit about yourself?

I started in Unilever as a Graduate Trainee in the UK, after having to leave the Army due to an injury. I chose Unilever because of the great training available at the company, and its great values. And it was exactly what I got – a lot of different experiences in very different environments and situations! I have stayed here because of the wide range of things to do, which met my purpose and gave me a variety of opportunities to move around different countries, types of jobs, subject areas.

Read more “Tim Munden (Chief Learning Officer) shares his applicant advice!”


Our Senior Leaders share the secrets to success!

James Bruce – Executive VP Enterprise Solutions and Information & Analytics

  • Studied Economics at The University of Warwick

James was initially driven by the need to put a roof over his head, coming from a family of small business owners with limited success. His original aim was to work for a large company, gain experience and return the family business to profit.

What has made you stay with Unilever your whole career?

Having not set out with the intention of becoming a ‘lifer’ but new opportunities presented themselves as James excelled in each role he was given. The size of Unilever lends itself to an abundance of opportunity.

Read more “Our Senior Leaders share the secrets to success!”

Julia Fentem interview

Senior leader interview: Julia Fentem, Vice President SEAC

Julia is Head of Unilever’s Safety & Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) and has spanned a career within Unilever since 1998. With an academic background in biochemistry and a PhD in toxicology, she has also played a key role in shaping the R&D UFLP and so read about her career so far, tips for being successful on the scheme and maintaining that vital work-life balance: Read more “Senior leader interview: Julia Fentem, Vice President SEAC”

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Senior Leader Interview: Carol Bosko, Research Director

We caught up with Carol Bosko, Research Director for R&D at out Port Sunlight site to provide some insight into what a career in R&D at Unilever might entail.

What excites you about science and what made you want to go in to science?

Well I first realised I wanted to become a scientist when I saw the very first example of pH change. I was at a science fair and somebody from a very large pharmaceutical company was demonstrating a simple pH indicator. When the colour changed from blue to green I thought it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. I was probably about 5 or 6 years old and it was at that point that science really grabbed my attention.

Read more “Senior Leader Interview: Carol Bosko, Research Director”


Top 10 Tips for Graduate Job Hunters

Hi All,

We all know that job hunting as a graduate isn’t easy. The process is constantly growing in length with extensive application forms, multiple psychometric tests, telephone interviews and of course, extremely demanding selection boards. The process is most definitely challenging and on top of other deadlines that you may be facing (exams, coursework deadlines etc.) it can be a stressful time. As a recent graduate who started at Unilever in 2013 I remember clearly the pressure of job-hunting and the challenges it created. I thought therefore it would be helpful to offer my top ten tips for graduate job-hunters. Some are specific to Unilever and some are slightly more general. These are by no means the holy grail of securing a graduate job but hopefully for those who are feeling the strain they may help;

Read more “Top 10 Tips for Graduate Job Hunters”


Senior Leader Interview – Abbe Luersman SVP Human Resources…


Can you briefly describe your career in Unilever up to now?

I joined Unilever as a mid-career recruit in September of 2007 as the SVP (Senior Vice President) of HR Transformation based in London, after having 16.5 years with another company/industry – Whirlpool Corporation. The change to Unilever was the right move at the right time.  I had held varying roles of increasing responsibility across HR (Expertise/Business Partnering/Services) as well as several Supply Chain roles (Business Team Trainer/Process Consultant/Operations Manager) at Whirlpool and it was now time to see if I could be successful with another larger company and in a different industry.  With this decision, my husband, Paul, daughter Emma and I packed up our household belongings and moved from St. Joseph, Michigan to Esher, UK.  We were on a great adventure.  I had lived abroad before with Whirlpool, multiple times in multiple countries, as a single woman, but had never had the personal opportunity to live abroad after being married to Paul and as a family unit.

After almost a year in the role with Unilever, as of July 2008, I became accountable for the additional responsibility to include HR strategy, becoming the SVP of HR Transformation & Strategy.  Then in August of 2009 I was asked to assume the HR leadership role for Western Europe based out of the Netherlands and became the SVP of HR – Western Europe.  As of September 2011, our Unilever global structure evolved to 8 Market Clusters and 4 Category organisations, with this, our CEE (Central Eastern Europe) business was added into the Western Europe scope of my responsibilities and I evolved into the SVP of HR Europe.  Thus not only have I been challenged with several different opportunities in my first five years with Unilever, but on the personal side my family has had the chance to grow and experience new adventures by already living in two different countries during this time.  As a mid-career recruit, I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity or a better development experience.  As I like to say… ‘Once you join Unilever, there’s no turning back and before you know it, you are bleeding blue!’

Can you describe your typical work day?

Typical work day…what’s that?  There’s no typical work day.  Every day comes with new opportunities and new challenges to drive talent development, optimise the organisation and ideally drive higher performance at an individual and work unit level.  I love the variety and the need to be adaptable, but also the pace of change and opportunity for continuous improvement.  Every day I strive to make a difference by living Unilever’s ambitions and our HR ambition as one HR team.  Because as one team, this is where we can collectively and individually have real HR with Impact.

What has been so far your proudest moment at Unilever?

There’s actually been two….March 21st – 23rd of 2012 and July 5th -7th of 2011.

On March 21st -23rd of 2012 I had the opportunity to be with 140 HR colleagues from across Europe at our European ‘HR with Impact’ conference where I experienced first-hand the power of ONE TEAM and that if you have a simple/clear vision, an aligned plan – with clear priorities and measures, are focused on results and have created a community with a real passion to win…leadership isn’t a responsibility it becomes a distinct privilege. Then on July 5th-7th of 2011 I was with another group of 100 European leaders, this time from across work units and functions at our European ‘It’s Our Time’ conference and here I experienced the power of having an ambition, creating the will to win and enabling new ways of thinking/working.   Our European 2015 Strategy was revealed and there was clear recognition that we now had a plan for Europe.

What’s the best advice you would pass on to new trainees?

Always be ‘Full On’ – professionally and personally.  Have the passion and drive to always make a difference.  Look at every opportunity as just that…an opportunity for growth and an opportunity to have real impact.  If you don’t, it’s a missed opportunity. 

What exciting opportunities do you see in the near future for the HR business area in Unilever?

HR will lead the organization to be the best in People, Place and Performance and will do so as one team. By delivering on this exciting and audacious ambition, we will be clearly contributing to the delivery of our Unilever ambition and, by the way, having a lot of fun along the way.

Finally (for a bit of fun), what is your favourite Unilever brand?

Okay…don’t tell anyone…but it’s Axe – Dark Temptation.  I know I’m not the target group, but I can’t resist.  I borrowed my husband’s once (yes I know he’s not the target group either because he’s 44 like me) and from that day on it was my personal deo preference as well.  It gives me the protection I want and makes me feel fresh for the day.


Where the Supply Chain graduate programme can take you


Hi, my name is Dhivant Patel and I am the High Street Customer Service Manger at Unilever. I am a Durham University graduate and joined the business on the Unilever Future Leaders Programme four-and-a-half years ago.dhivvvvpatelll

At six month intervals on the two year programme, I was assessed against my peers and the management competencies to ensure I was on track and heading in the right direction. The graduate programme is all about real responsibility from day one and a fast-track to management, so it’s really important to stay close to your manager during this time and learn as much as possible. After passing my final review at the end of my second year at Unilever, I successfully moved into a project manager role in customer service. Unilever creates succession plans for promising and talented employees and it was through succession planning that I got my current role.

Eight months ago I then took over the role of Customer Service Manager. I manage a team of six people and together we work alongside the Unilever customer development teams. Customer development is all about managing and enhancing relationships with our customers – large national retailers, supermarkets, cosmetics stores, wholesalers – and together, we work on the forecasting and supply of products for sale in stores. My team’s aim is to ensure maximum availability of our products on our customers’ shelves, cost efficiently as possible, so a typical week for me involves a good mix of face time with my customers, resolving day-to-day operational issues.

I really enjoy working for Unilever: there are lots of very talented, driven people; I enjoy the fast pace of the consumer goods industry, the variety of challenges of working across different product categories from household and personal care, to foods, and the fact that I’m part of a global company working towards an ambitious strategy of sustainable growth.

You can check out our Supply Chain Management video here.


Introducing Karl, Supply Chain Logistics Director & Ex-Graduate Trainee

Paragliding-629x288Only 5 years after joining Unilever as a Supply Chain Management graduate  and doing various project engineering and production management roles in UK, I moved to a a role in  Milan, Italy to manage one of Unilever’s Homecare Liquids factories. This was hugely daunting as I had never been to Italy before and my grasp of the Italian language didn’t extend much beyond “pizza, pasta and ciao”, but this is also typical of how Unilever continually gives you challenges and responsibility that drive you to grow and develop as a person.I arrived in Italy on the Sunday and on Monday assumed responsibility for the 150 factory operators, engineers and planners and the production of liquid products for sale across Europe under our brand names such as Persil, Surf, Svelto, Lysoform , Cif and Domestos. The first few months were difficult, as this saw me taking on a new job, in a new country with a new language, but building relationships in the factory and drawing on the support from the rest of Unilever’s European team, allowed me to get up and running very quickly. Being immersed in Italian, the language came to me after only a couple of months (albeit with an Irish accent and some pretty dubious grammar).Now, over a decade later, I look back on my time in Italy as one of the highlights of my career to-date. Not only was I given the opportunity to run my own factory very early in my career, during an exciting time where we installed a “hole-in-the-wall” bottle blowing operation to improve customer service, reduce costs and lower our carbon impact. I also got to lead a fantastic team of factory staff who knew their jobs and equipment well enough to deliver the efficiency improvements required. I also got to experience a different culture and learn a new language and I discovered that Milan is a great location to explore the rest of Europe,with many weekend road-trips to the rest of Italy, into the Alps and the neighbouring countries – a spot of skiing and paragliding is a great way of making those work pressures disappear!