Unilever was founded in 1930 following a business merger between Naamlooze Vennootschap Margarine Unie of the Netherlands and Lever Brothers Limited of the UK. To avoid punitive taxation levies and the disruption to the business that would result from dividing integrated national companies into their component parts, both companies pooled their interests through a business merger as opposed to a legal merger.
Two controlling companies were set up, one English (Unilever Ltd - now Unilever PLC) and the other Dutch (Naamlooze Vennootschap Margarine Unie – now Unilever NV). To allow both companies to operate as a single legal entity notwithstanding their independent legal structures, a series of agreements was put in place: mutual sharing of brands and technology; equalisation of dividend; mutual guarantee of borrowings; identical Boards of Directors and equal treatment for shareholders in the event of dissolution.
Overview of structure
Unilever NV and PLC have separate legal identities but operate as a single entity. Each Unilever NV ordinary share of € 0.16 represents the same underlying economic interest in the Unilever Group as each Unilever PLC ordinary share of 3 1/9 pence (safe for exchange rate fluctuations).
|Unilever PLC||Ann M Fudge, Vittorio Colao, Kees Kruythoff, Nils Smedegaard Andersen, Paul Polman, Keith Weed, Jan Zijderveld, David G Blanchard, Laura May Lung Shih Cha, Antoine B De Saint-Affrique, Louise Ottilie Fresco, Lysanne Gray, Byron Elmer Grote, Judith Hartmann, Kevin John Havelock, Raoul Jean-Marc Sidney Huet, Alan W Jope, Tonia Erica Lovell, Xuezheng Mary Ma, Thembalihle Hixonia Nyasulu, Nitin Keshav Paranjpe, Graeme David Pitkethly, John Frederick Rishton, Feike Sijbesma, Niels Michael Aage Treschow, Kees Storm|
|Unilever group||Ann M Fudge, Malcolm Rifkind, Kees Kruythoff, Paul Polman, Keith Weed, Jan Zijderveld, David G Blanchard, Laura May Lung Shih Cha, Antoine B De Saint-Affrique, Louise Ottilie Fresco, Lysanne Gray, Byron Elmer Grote, Kevin John Havelock, Raoul Jean-Marc Sidney Huet, Alan W Jope, Tonia Erica Lovell, Xuezheng Mary Ma, Thembalihle Hixonia Nyasulu, Nitin Keshav Paranjpe, John Frederick Rishton, Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Niels Michael Aage Treschow, Paul Steven Walsh, Kees Storm|
|BP plc||Antony Burgmans, Nils Smedegaard Andersen|
|Amoco Corporation||Antony Burgmans, Byron Elmer Grote|
|HSBC Holdings plc||Laura May Lung Shih Cha, Paul Steven Walsh|
|General Electric Company||Ann M Fudge|
|AT&T, Inc.||David James Atherton|
|Verizon Communications Inc.||Vittorio Colao|
|United Parcel Service, Inc.||David James Atherton|
|FedEx||Paul Steven Walsh|
|Honeywell International Inc.||Ann M Fudge|
|Northrop Grumman Corporation||Ann M Fudge|
|McDonald's Corporation||Paul Steven Walsh|
|ManpowerGroup Inc.||Gina R Boswell|
|Bristol-Myers Squibb Company||Raoul Jean-Marc Sidney Huet|
|Harvard University||Ann M Fudge|
|Dow Chemical||Paul Polman|
|Obama for America||Ann M Fudge|
|Brookings Institution||Ann M Fudge|
|Council on Foreign Relations||Ann M Fudge|