Unilever to Spin Off Ben & Jerry’s and Cut 7,500 Jobs

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The consumer goods giant said the moves would make for a “simpler, more focused company” as consumers trade down to cheaper brands amid high inflation.

Unilever, the consumer goods giant, said on Tuesday that it would cut 7,500 jobs and spin off its ice cream unit, which includes Ben & Jerry’s, to reduce costs and simplify its portfolio of brands.

The moves would make for “a simpler, more focused and higher performing Unilever,” Ian Meakins, the London-based company’s chair, said in a statement. The group’s ice cream unit generated 7.9 billion euros ($8.6 billion) in sales last year, or about 13 percent of the group’s total.

The division is home to Ben & Jerry’s, which Unilever acquired in 2000, along with other brands like Cornetto, Magnum, Talenti and Wall’s. The spinoff is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

Hein Schumacher, who took over as Unilever’s chief executive in July, announced a plan late last year to “drive growth and unlock potential,” in part by focusing more attention on just 30 of the group’s hundreds of brands.

On Tuesday, he said that the job cuts and ice cream spinoff would “accelerate” the plan, saving nearly $870 million in costs over the next three years. The layoffs, of “predominantly office-based roles” around the world, amount to about 6 percent of Unilever’s work force.

Unilever acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, along with other brands like Cornetto, Magnum, Talenti and Wall’s.Emmanuel Dunand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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