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Business News/ Companies / HUL splits beauty and personal care biz to take on new-age brands

HUL splits beauty and personal care biz to take on new-age brands

The company has also created a new role of chief digital officer to reinforce its digital agenda

Hindustan Unilever's beauty and personal care division contributed 37% of its revenue in FY23. (Bloomberg News)Premium
Hindustan Unilever's beauty and personal care division contributed 37% of its revenue in FY23. (Bloomberg News)

NEW DELHI : Hindustan Unilever Ltd is splitting its beauty and personal care business into two, one dedicated to beauty and wellbeing and the other to personal care, as it looks to take on younger, mostly digital-focused companies that are challenging the incumbents.

With the transition, effective 1 April, HUL’s beauty and personal care business structure will mirror that of parent Unilever, which too has beauty and wellbeing (B&W), and personal care (PC), as separate divisions. 

HUL’s beauty and personal care division contributed 37% of its revenue in FY23, with brands such as Lifebuoy, Lux, Sunsilk, Clinic Plus, Dove, Lakmé, Pond’s, and Closeup. The division reported revenue of Rs21,831 crore. 

Other divisions at HUL include food and refreshments, and home care.

HUL also announced key changes to its management committee, including the appointment of a chief digital officer, Arun Neelakantan, as part of reinforcing the company’s digital agenda. Neelakantan, currently vice president, digital transformation and growth, will take up his new role effective 1 January.

The move comes amidst expectation of significant growth in India’s beauty and personal care market given how under-penetrated the category is. Also, new-age brands such as the recently listed Mamaearth as well as Sugar and Plum have been wooing young shoppers with innovative offerings, prompting established brands to take note.

Beauty and personal care “continues to be a source of value creation for us. However, the business model, innovation rhythm and competitive landscape for both, B&W and PC, are diverging," CEO and managing director Rohit Jawa said in a statement on Friday. 

“The transition will allow us to bring more focus, and leverage our strong portfolio in both businesses. I am glad to have seasoned business leaders like Harman and Kartik to lead B&W and PC, respectively."

Harman Dhillon will lead the beauty and wellbeing division, and Kartik Chandrasekhar the personal care business, both from 1 April. Madhusudhan Rao, who was executive director, B&W and PC, has decided to retire, the company said. 

Dhillon, currently India skin care head, joined HUL in 2006. Between 2015-16, she led the TRESemmé business as global brand director, based out of London. 

Chandrasekhar, who joined HUL as a management trainee in 1998, is currently global vice president and head of oral care and skin cleansing for D&E markets. He has worked across Unilever businesses in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

The overall domestic beauty and personal care market is projected to grow to $30 billion by 2027, accounting for about 5% of the global market, consulting firm Redseer said in a September report.

“On per capita BPC spends, while the US leads at $313, and China at $38, India lags significantly at just $14," Redseer said. “Online is a significant channel for BPC in India as it is projected to become a $10 billion market by 2027, accounting for roughly 33% of the market then."

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Suneera Tandon
Suneera Tandon is a New Delhi based reporter covering consumer goods for Mint. Suneera reports on fast moving consumer goods makers, retailers as well as other consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants and malls. She is deeply interested in what consumers across urban and rural India buy, wear and eat. Suneera holds a masters degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi.
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Published: 01 Dec 2023, 06:43 PM IST
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