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Unilever melds product groups to form personal care unit

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ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — Unilever is combining its antiperspirants, deodorant and hair care group with its skin care business to create a personal care business unit based at its North American headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

The consumer products giant said Tuesday that with the integration, it plans to close its Chicago offices — where the antiperspirants, deodorant and hair care group is currently based — by July 2010. The move will affect about 200 employees, according to the company.

"Over the last few years, we have made significant progress in bringing Unilever teams together in North America," Michael Polk, president of Unilever Americas, said in a statement. "We have become a more unified, collaborative and focused organization — and we are driving results.

"The decision to create a single PC [personal care] unit within the U.S. business is in line with this progress and will leverage the resources and capabilities across our PC brands to drive further growth,” he noted.

Unilever said that it has integrated a number of businesses and offices between 2006 and 2009. Those moves include supply chain integrations announced in 2008 and 2009, the North American ice cream business integration into the U.S. business unveiled in 2007, and the consolidations of offices in Connecticut and Illinois announced in 2006.

"We are committed to working closely with our colleagues in Chicago to ensure a smooth transition," Polk commented.


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