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Mick Dillon: In this time when many people’s reality seems to be increasingly unreal – in the face of pandemic, economic upheaval and racial injustice -- CEOs have often been a rare voice of deliberation, trustworthiness and even moral suasion. Few CEOs have accepted that mantle as comfortably as Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever. Alan has been outspoken about the role that business leaders can play in shaping society and has been willing to tackle some of the big issues that we face collectively – like climate change and inequality.
Alan is distinctive among large company CEOs in that he has spent his entire career at Unilever – working his way up from his first job out of university as a marketing trainee. Today as Chief Executive Alan oversees a massive company that operates in over 100 countries with 150 thousand employees and generated US$62 billion in revenue last year from their food, home care and personal brands. Importantly, from an investment standpoint, Unilever has outperformed by over 20% over the past 5 ½ years versus the MSCI All Country World Index.
That’s good news if you are a Unilever shareholder. And fortunately, we are a long-term shareholders. I’m Mick Dillon, I’m a partner of Brown Advisory, and the co-portfolio manager of our Global Leaders equity strategy – where we have been very satisfied owners of Unilever since we first launched the strategy more than five years ago.
It is my real pleasure to sit down with Alan Jope today. As you will hear, Alan is truly passionate about Unilever’s purpose – to make sustainable living commonplace – and the power of purpose to generate profit while also making the future healthier and more prosperous for people around the world.
CEO, UnileverAlan Jope was appointed Chief Executive Officer in January 2019. As CEO of Unilever, Jope is responsible for leading one of the world’s largest and most geographically diverse consumer goods businesses, with presence in 190 countries. Jope joined Unilever in the UK in 1985. Before being appointed as CEO, he served as President of Unilever’s Beauty & Personal Care Division from 2014. He also worked in leadership roles in North America for 14 years and Asia for 13 years. When leading Unilever's business in China, Alan doubled its size and laid important foundations for future success. Jope is a Vice Chair of the WBCSD Executive Committee, a member of the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council, and on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Goods Forum and FCLT Global (Focusing Capital on the Long Term). He is Chair of the Generation Unlimited Board of Trustees, a Vice Chair of the Unstereotype Alliance and a private sector Steering Committee member of the UN’s Generation Equality campaign. Jope holds a BA Hons in Commerce from Edinburgh University and graduated from Harvard Business School's General Management Program in 2001. Jope is married and has three adult children.
Mick Dillon, CFA
Portfolio Manager, Brown AdvisoryMick is a portfolio manager within the global equity team and is based in the firm’s London office. He joined Brown Advisory in 2014 from HSBC Global Asset Management in Hong Kong where he was the co-head of Asian equities. While at HSBC, he was responsible for managing a range of strategies: quality/dividend, large-cap and small-cap focused pan-Asian equity, as well as a number of country-specific strategies. Previously, he managed a global equity long/short fund for HSBC in London and was a global technology equity analyst at Arete Research early in his career.
Senior Institutional Sustainable Investing Specialist, Brown AdvisoryKatherine is a senior institutional sustainable investing specialist working primarily to assist the building of the institutional business’s approach to sustainable investing. She also helps to lead the firm’s engagement efforts with companies, issuers, and municipalities to promote deeper adoption of ESG. In 2019, Katherine was named to the SRI Conference’s list of “30 Under 30” sustainable investing professionals. She is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Texas and was previously a Chapter Leader of WISE (Women Investing for a Sustainable Economy) in Boston, MA. Prior to joining Brown Advisory, Katherine helped lead the shareholder advocacy efforts for Green Century Capital Management, engaging with fortune 500 companies and serving on two advisory boards for the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investing (UN PRI).
S2 | Episode 2 | Exploring the Future of Energy with Daniel YerginDecember 13, 2020
Dr. Daniel Yergin—a leading global authority on energy, economics and geopolitics, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The New Map—sits down with Brown Advisory’s Jane Korhonen to discuss the future of energy, and how that future may shape innovation, international relations and the economy in the years ahead. The stakes are high: Climate change is creating an urgent need for a lower-carbon economy, and the incoming Biden administration will face the daunting challenge of reigniting the U.S. economy in the wake of the pandemic, and energy may be a critical catalyst of that recovery.
We are grateful to Dr. Yergin for sharing his insights with us. The episode also includes a follow-up conversation between Jane and Brown Advisory’s Chief Investment Officer, Paul Chew, in which they discuss some of the implications for investors.