Unilever’s Umesh Shah recognised as Executive of the Year at the SBR Management Excellence Awards

Under Umesh’s leadership, Unilever International become one of Unilever’s fastest-growing global businesses.

 What does serving the underserved by leveraging the underleveraged mean? For Umesh Shah, CEO at Unilever International, this means turning challenges into opportunities through dedication and outstanding leadership geared towards generating positive social impact at a time of great human need.

In 2012, Umesh Shah built Unilever International, Unilever’s global white-space business arm, to serve emerging and fast-growing geographies, consumers, customers, and channels worldwide that were created by trends like globalisation, migration, travel, and digital commerce.

 Under his leadership, Unilever International has become one of Unilever’s fastest-growing businesses globally, doubling its turnover in less than four years and crossing the one-billion-euro mark in less than a decade.

In the past two years, Unilever International has also produced a continuous stream of top-brand launches ranging between 300 and 350 products a year, or almost one innovation a day. More recently, Unilever International has started dedicated partnerships to build a global infrastructure to supply beauty and personal care products to leading hospitality and travel players such as Intercontinental Group and Singapore Airlines.

With a vision to leverage the underleveraged and serve the underserved, Umesh rallied his team to organise donation drives for the most vulnerable communities since the onset of the pandemic and the team continues to support needy communities around the countries they serve.

 In Singapore alone, Unilever International donated 14,000 care packages in partnership with the National Environment Agency's "SG Clean" campaign with Unilever cleaning products and thermometers as part of the "Thank You Hawkers" initiative to support Singapore’s much-loved hawkers. They also donated more than 500,000 sanitation essentials to isolated seniors, the disabled, the homeless, migrant workers, children’s homes, and shelters via organisations in Singapore.

Through their recent global partnership model, Unilever International also reduced its plastic footprint by replacing miniature single-use plastic amenities with refillable large packs.

Unilever International employs over 400 people from 35 different nationalities in Unilever International, where he is cultivating a future-fit diverse business culture through bespoke leadership journeys and personal coaching. With its global office based in Singapore, the company operates in seven key hubs across the globe.

Undoubtedly, Umesh has been a true talent catalyst, grooming the next generation of Unilever International talent through bespoke leadership journeys. For these efforts, he was given the Executive of the Year award under the FMCG category in the recently concluded Singapore Business Review Management Excellence Awards.

Now in their eighth year, the awards honour the country’s most outstanding business leaders, including trailblazing teams and individuals whose initiatives have resulted in substantial business gains for their company’s operations.

The SBR Management Excellence Awards is presented by Singapore Business Review Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2023 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's employee engagements and management initiatives, please contact Julie Anne Nuñez at [email protected].

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