Alan Jope, Photo: Unilever.

INTERNATIONAL – Unilever’s incoming Chief Executive Alan Jope plans to stick to the 2020 targets set by his predecessor Paul Polman, Jope said on Tuesday, confirming a message of continuity set last week by the company chairman.

Jope, who will become Chief Executive of the consumer goods giant in January, made the comment during an investor event in India, according to a spokeswoman.

Following last year’s unsolicited $143 billion takeover attempt by Kraft-Heinz, the maker of Dove soap and Hellmann’s mayonnaise said it would lift its operating margin to 20 percent by 2020, up from 16.4 percent in 2016. 

Some observers have worried that the margin target could lead to cost cuts in marketing that could hurt long-term sales growth.

Unilever announced last week that Jope would succeed Polman. At the time, Chairman Marijn Dekkers said Jope’s appointment represented continuity, saying the company was on track to meet Polman’s guidance.

Reuters