BusinessPeople In BusinessLawrence out, Huet in at Unilever

Lawrence out, Huet in at Unilever

Jim Lawrence's resignation as CFO of Unilever opens door for Jean-Marc Huet; plus boardroom battles at Mitchell & Butler, Kingston Smith recruits forensics experts and Mercers' new client manager

Being overlooked for the CEO role could explain Jim Lawrence’s surprise
resignation as CFO of Unilever. Lawrence handed in his notice at the end of
2009, ending his three year tenure as CFO. The company, which owns brands such
as Dove soap and Magnum ice-creams, said he is seeking other opportunities. But
reports suggest the reason for his departure could be missing out on the CEO
role, which went to Paul Polman in January last year.

“When he became CFO he probably thought he was in with a good shot at chief
executive. When he didn’t get it, his role may have become untenable,” an
analyst at Credit Suisse said.

He is succeeded by Jean-Marc Huet, current CFO at pharmaceutical group
Bristol-Myers Squibb.

One of the biggest boardroom battles to take place over the last few years
has continued to spark controversy as Mitchell & Butlers’ biggest
shareholder, Joe Lewis, announced his intentions to recruit another finance
professional to the board as non-executive. His investment vehicle Piedmont lost
two non-execs last year when the board ousted four members. Rob Robson, CFO of
Tamar Capital Partners, will join the board on 22 January standing for
reappointment on 28 January this year.

Kingston Smith has recruited three people to its forensic accounting team in
a bid to expand the division. David Epstein, Vanessa Lambert-Smith and Zakia
Chowdhury will focus on fraud and financial crime. They may also be called upon
as expert witnesses in valuation disputes and negligence cases.

Gary Simmons is to join Mercers as client manager responsible for some of its
major clients. Simmons was previously a partner at PwC working on human resource
issues for clients in the UK, North America and the Middle East. In his new role
he will also be charged with developing the firm’s capital and government sector
businesses.

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