Paul Polman speaking

Paul Polman Keynote Speaker

  • Co-Founder and Chair of IMAGINE foundation
  • CEO of Unilever (2009-18)
  • Author of "Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take"

Paul Polman's Biography

Paul Polman was the CEO of Unilever (2009-18).  He is the Co-Founder and Chair of the IMAGINE Foundation whose the aim to galvanise business leaders around the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals that tackle the climate crisis and global inequality.   He is also the Founder of the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust charity.  He is speaks on leadership, innovation,philanthropy and sustainability.

Paul strongly believes that businesses can be a force for good in the world and has dedicated his work to reshaping the relationship between business and society.  His new book is “Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take”​ will be published in October 2o21.  It is co-authored by Andrew Winston.

He was involved in the development of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel.  He is an active SDG Advocate and continues to work with organisations and industries across the world to bring about the 2030 agenda.

During Paul’s tenure as CEO at Unilever, the drove the organisation to become one of the best performing companies in its sector, achieving consistently both top and bottom-line growth, demonstrating the links between a long-term multi-stakeholder model and excellent financial performance.  Prior to this, Paul worked in senior leadership roles in both Nestlé and Procter & Gamble, where he worked for 27 years.

Paul Polman is Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, the B Team and Saïd Business School.  He is Vice Chair of the UN Global Compact.

He has been widely recognised for his work in sustainable development.  In 2018, Paul was awarded the Treaties of Nijmegen Medal by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  He is the recipient of the Public Service Star from the Government of Singapore, the Rainforest Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award and the INSEAD Business Leader for the World Award, amongst several others.  The Financial Times said Paul was a “standout CEO of the past decade” whose work had been “path breaking”.

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Videos of Paul Polman

Yale Insights | Paul Polman, Unilever
Yale Insights | Paul Polman, Unilever
Stanford Graduate School of Business | Unilever CEO Paul Polman: Pursue Your Purpose
Stanford Graduate School of Business | Unilever CEO Paul Polman: Pursue Your Purpose
 United Nations Global Compact | Paul Polman Gives Impassioned Speech at SDG Business Forum 2019
United Nations Global Compact | Paul Polman Gives Impassioned Speech at SDG Business Forum 2019
 McKinsey & Company | Committing to sustainability with Unilever CEO Paul Polman
McKinsey & Company | Committing to sustainability with Unilever CEO Paul Polman

Blogs & Articles

Books by Paul Polman

"Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take"

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