The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods juggernaut Unilever has chosen the Netherlands as the location of its headquarters, dashing the UK’s hopes of the Dove soap manufacturer retaining its current two-headed structure.
The company would move to a single entity situated in Rotterdam in an effort in an attempt to become “more agile”, undoing the split headquarters organisation that had been in place since 1930, wrote the BBC on 15 March.
In addition to moving its headquarters, Unilever said it would reorganise its business into three separate divisions, with the beauty and personal care unit and the home care business staying in London while the foods and refreshments division would continue to be based in Rotterdam.
No jobs would be lost in the move, which both the company and the UK government underlined was not related to the UK’s upcoming split from the EU.
“Unilever has today shown its long-term commitment to the UK by choosing to locate its two fastest-growing global business divisions in this country,” a UK government spokesperson told the BBC.
“As the company itself has made clear, its decision to transfer a small number of jobs to a corporate HQ in the Netherlands is part of a long-term restructuring of the company and is not connected to [Brexit].”
Paul Polman, Unilever CEO, told the BBC that the move was due to “technical reasons” as 55% of the firm’s shares were traded in the Netherlands.
However, anti-Brexit campaigners were quick to paint the move as a blow to the UK government, with the Best for Britain groups’ chief executive Eloise Todd saying Unilever’s decision showed what “business really feels” about Brexit.