Unilever announces MD for its new entity in Bangladesh | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 02, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:09 AM, July 02, 2020

Unilever announces MD for its new entity in Bangladesh

Unilever, it seems, is dead serious about getting a strong foothold in Bangladesh's nutrition business.

On Tuesday, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant finally completed its acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline's health food and drinks business in Bangladesh, and instead of swallowing it into its wider operations, it has set up a separate entity.

And yesterday, it announced KSM Minhaj, currently the customer development director of Unilever Bangladesh, as the managing director of the new company, christened Unilever Consumer Care.

The announcement was made after getting the approval from the board of directors of GSK Bangladesh at its 297th meeting on Tuesday, said a press release from Unilever.

The board of GSK Bangladesh was reconstituted post acquisition by Unilever Overseas Holdings BV and Masud Khan was re-elected as the chairman.

Minhaj brings with him two decades of rich fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) experience across multiple categories in foods, home and personal care while leading both marketing and customer development functions as a member of the management committee of Unilever Bangladesh over the last nine years.

He started his career at Nestlé Bangladesh in 2000, doing stints in supply chain and brand management before joining Unilever in 2006.

He was one of the youngest marketing directors of the country in 2011, leading a motivated and dynamic marketing team that successfully reshaped the laundry, skin and hair portfolio delivering both competitive and profitable growth.

The seeds of the future businesses like water, savoury edibles and hand and body were also sown under his leadership through the introduction of brands like Pureit, Knorr and Vaseline, the press release said. 

In 2014, Minhaj was appointed director for sales and customer development at UBL.

In the last six years, he has successfully transformed the function, making it future-fit by driving execution excellence, expanding distribution base, and creating a fine blend of go-to-market talent.

It will be a huge privilege to lead Unilever's nutrition business in Bangladesh, Minhaj said in the statement.

"I cannot help but celebrate the moment as two of the most respected global organisations operating in Bangladesh join hands to take the nutrition business to a greater height. I believe with such high quality of talent and purposeful brands we will be able to build an inspiring food and refreshment business in Bangladesh," he added.

The 44-year-old obtained a bachelor of business administration degree in management from the business studies faculty and an MBA in marketing from the Institute of Business Administration, both under the University of Dhaka.

He went to Dhaka College and St. Joseph High School in Dhaka, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Unilever Consumer Care will continue as a publicly listed independent entity and all the brands of GSK Bangladesh such as Horlicks, Boost and Glaxose-D will continue to be a part of the company's portfolio.

In 2018, Unilever announced its intent 82 per cent stakes in GlaxoSmithKline's health food and drinks business in Bangladesh for Tk 2,020.75 crore in its push to further its footprint in Asia's fast-growing economies.

GSK shuttered its 60-year-old pharmaceuticals business in Bangladesh in 2018. The pharmaceuticals unit, based in Chattogram, was incurring losses in the previous five years, much to the concern of the GSK Bangladesh board.

With the view to preventing any more losses, the board decided to bring down the curtains on the business.

GSK continued to outperform competitors in both health food drinks and toothpaste, with the company's share increasing to 95.8 per cent in the health food drink category, a gain of 0.3 per cent over 2017.

The share of GSK traded 0.34 per cent higher at Tk 2,182 on the Dhaka Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The market was closed yesterday because of the bank holiday. 


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