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Mr. Harish Manwani

Mr. Harish Manwani

Mr. Harish Manwani

Reading success stories of greatest professionals stimulates motivational enzyme within us and we all wish to emulate them on path of success.

Exactly with this aim  MBARendezvous.com - India's content lead MBA website is presenting you series of success stories of Professionals who have   carved niche in their own way and have become icons of Management Fraternity. 

Following above you will read today success story of Mr. Harish Manwani :  

Mr. Harish Manwani is the first newly appointed COO (chief operating officer) of global FMCG giant Unilever and the chairman of Hindustan Unilever (HUL). As a part of global reorganisation of its business structure, to trigger further growth Manwani will assume the role with effect from September, 2011. Born in 1954, Manwani has risen from a management trainee to the top tier of the world’s largest consumer goods company.

A graduate from Mumbai University he obtained a Masters Degree in Management studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS) in 1976 and studied Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.
In 1976, Manwani joined the then Hindustan Lever Limited now HUL. He became a member of the board and took the responsibility of Personal Products business as Director. He was also incharge of business group in Central Asia and Middle East.

In the early 1990s, when Le Sancy, a soap brand from the Hindustan Lever stable, was not able to gain its foothold in the market, Manwani donning the role of a crisis manager argued for a new advertising campaign with a complete Indian touch. He wanted to create something different and was ready to give complete freedom to the advertising agency hired to work on the campaign. It clicked and since then he never looked back.

In 2001 he became Senior Vice President of Global Hair Care and Oral Care and moved to the UK. The next year he was appointed President of Home and Personal Care of the Latin America division. He was also made Chairman of Unilever's Latin America Advisory Council.

In 2004, he was appointed president and CEO of the HPC North America business group and in 2005 joined the Unilever Executive as president of Asia and Africa division. He is also non-executive chairman of Hindustan Lever and is currently a member of the Executive Board of the Indian School of Business. He serves on the Supervisory Board of ING Groep NV.

He was appointed as the global COO for Unilever in June 2011 to drive further simplification and efficiency. This is the first time that an Indian has raised to this level in the company to lead the business. The Rotterdam-based Unilever created the post of COO with an eye on tapping opportunities in emerging markets. 

According to a survey, 160 million times a day, someone somewhere chooses a Unilever product. From feeding family to keeping home spic and span, the brands have diversified into an array of products ranging from food, home care, personal care, nutrition, health, hygiene and beauty.

In Unilever, research and development (R&D) is the home of breakthrough technology for bigger, better, faster innovations. Products that are churned keep pace with the changes in consumer lifestyles and that appeal to people at all income levels. The R&D function at Unilever employs over 6,000 professionals located in 20 countries spanning the globe from Mexico to Australia.

Manwani is equally passionate about developing & emerging (D&E) markets fuelling Unilever's future requirement of talent. For his outstanding work he was awarded ‘The Asia Business Leader of the Year’ by CNBC Asia in 2008.

Gifted with the balance of head and heart, Manwani is known for his quotable quotes and always ensures that the Leverites are excelling in the market arena to enlarge the consumer base of HUL. An outstanding communicator he believes less in theory and more in practice. Using simple phrases like 'we are a soap to soup company' he makes it a point for people to understand the vision of the company.

For his colleagues Manwani comes across as a street-smart, aggressive, transparent and innovative person who always “thinks outside the box and loves to take calculated risks”. For instance, he redefined TPM, which according to management books is total productivity maintenance. But in Manwani’s dictionary, TPM meant two per month insisting that the company should launch two new products or brands every month.

When not burning the midnight oil at work, Manwani loves to spend his leisure time with his family. A fitness freak, his other passion is squash, golf and occasionally bridge.

The 57-year-old corporate despite being so successful is prone to sleepless nights. He says, "I get sleepless nights when I walk into a store and see a consumer pick up a competitor's product.”

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