Zaved new CEO of Unilever Bangladesh
Unilever Bangladesh, one of the largest fast-moving consumer goods companies, has appointed a Bangladeshi as its chief executive officer and managing director for the second time.
The new appointee, Zaved Akhtar, is currently serving as the vice president of Digital Transformation & Growth, South Asia, based in India. He is expected to join from July 1, 2021, according to a press release yesterday.
"It is wonderful to come back home as we see the amazing economic and social transformation of Bangladesh and lead a company that has been a part of everyday life of every Bangladeshis since independence," Akhtar told The Daily Star in his instant reaction after the announcement of his new appointment.
"We have a brilliant foundation and a great momentum going our way. Now the task is cut out for me and the team to take Unilever Bangladesh to the next trajectory of growth as we serve our consumers and customers while we create a positive impact on the community where we operate in," he said.
The first national was Kamran Bakr, who had served from 2012 to 2017.
Akhtar will succeed Kedar Lele, who has been in the post since January 2018. Lele became the chairman in addition to his role as the managing director in 2020.
Lele will continue as the chairman of Unilever Bangladesh, apart from his new assignment as the executive director of customer development at Hindustan Unilever.
Akhtar, a graduate of the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka, began his career with British American Tobacco. He joined Unilever as a senior brand manager for its oral care business in 2000.
With 24 years of professional experience across South Asia, Southeast Asia and Australasia, he has strong expertise in consumer centricity and design thinking, which has helped him build capabilities in brand development, communication and innovation management.
In his current role, Akhtar set up a "Digital Council" for Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) and anchored the "Reimagine HUL" agenda, a widely recognised programme across Unilever as a comprehensive end-to-end digital transformation programme with impact.
Sanjiv Mehta, president of Unilever South Asia, welcomed Akhtar to the South Asia Leadership Team. "I am certain that he will lead the Bangladesh business to greater heights," he said.
Unilever started its journey in erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1964. Today, it manufactures products under more than 28 brands.
The British multinational consumer goods company has 1,500 plus employees, and more than 20,000 people work in its value chain, according to Jatra, a publication on the journey of Unilever in Bangladesh.