Former CEO and Managing Director of Hindustan Unilever Limited Visits LUMS
In a bid to strengthen ties between academia and industry, Mr. Sanjiv Mehta, former Chairman, and Managing Director of Hindustan Unilever Limited, India’s largest FMCG company, visited LUMS on July 17, 2023. This marked his second visit to LUMS, having previously visited once in the early 2000s, and presented an opportunity for him to gain insights into the University’s remarkable growth over the past two decades.
With a remarkable tenure of 30 years at Unilever, Mr. Mehta has served as Chairman/CEO in various parts of the world. From October 2013 till June 2023, he was responsible for leading Unilever's business in India and South Asia. He also served as President, Unilever South Asia, overseeing Unilever's businesses in the region with a combined turnover of $9 billion. As a member of Unilever's Global Executive Board, he held a crucial role in running the global consumer goods giant. Additionally, Mr. Mehta served as the President Commissioner of the Board of Commissioners for Unilever Indonesia. Under his leadership during the past 9 years at Hindustan Unilever, the company's market capitalisation has grown from $17 billion to over $70 billion, positioning it as one of India's most valuable companies and earning it numerous accolades and prestigious awards.
Accompanying Mr. Mehta from Unilever was Mr. Amir Paracha, Chairman and CEO Unilever Pakistan, and other representatives, including Ms. Fathema Zuberi, Director, Human Resources, Syed Fawad Ahmed, Director of Strategy and Digital Transformation, Ms. Fatima Arshad, Head of Sustainability & Corporate Communications, Ms. Caroline Lobo, Executive Assistant to the Chairman, and Mr. Abdul Sattar, Digital Communications Lead, Unilever Pakistan.
Unilever has been a leading partner with LUMS in providing financial assistance to deserving students for more than two decades. In 2006, Unilever established a scholarship fund to sponsor female MBA scholars, and in 2018, created an endowment to support National Outreach Programme scholars at LUMS. It also provided financial support to the university in the early years from 1985 to 1995.
The Unilever team received a warm welcome from LUMS' senior leadership, which included Syed Babar Ali, Founding Pro-Chancellor, Abdul Razak Dawood, Pro-Chancellor, Mr. Shahid Hussain, Rector, and Management Committee Members and Members Board of Trustees, Dr. Parvez Hassan, Mr. Osman Khalid Waheed, and Mr. Faisal Dawood.
The visit commenced with Mr. Mehta addressing a gathering of SME entrepreneurs participating in the Venture Advancement Programme at the Rausing Executive Development Centre (REDC) at LUMS. Mr. Mehta shared his valuable experiences and knowledge, inspiring entrepreneurs to embrace sustainable business practices, foster innovation, and embrace purpose-driven change. He emphasised the importance of resilience, adaptation, and the pursuit of excellence amidst ever-changing business landscapes.
Following the engaging session at REDC, Mr. Mehta embarked on a tour different labs at the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering. This experience provided him with an in-depth understanding of cutting-edge research and academic pursuits at LUMS, underlining the institution's commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and academic excellence.
The visit concluded with an interactive session where Mr. Mehta engaged in thought-provoking discussions with LUMS' senior leadership and esteemed faculty members. Ms. Nuzhat Kamran, Director Advancement, shed light on key aspects of the university, including its recent global accolades for excellence, and the flagship National Outreach Programme, designed to make education accessible to talented students across Pakistan.
The session also included insightful presentations by faculty members, highlighting the accomplishments of the various centres at LUMS. The faculty members included Dr. Muhammad Abubakr, Executive Director, Center for Water Informatics & Technology; Dr. Momin Uppal, Associate Professor, SBASSE; Dr. Fareed Zaffar, Associate Professor, SBASSE; Dr. Misbah Chaudhry, Faculty Director, Centre for Business and Society and Assistant Professor, SDSB, and Ms. Arzoo Gauhar, Manager, Centre for Business and Society. The session served as a platform for exploring potential avenues for knowledge exchange, talent development, and harnessing digital transformations to create lasting impacts in their respective domains.
Mr. Mehta expressed profound admiration for LUMS' significant contributions to Pakistan's academic landscape. He commended the university as a shining example of academic excellence and innovation, highlighting its dedication to progressive education and an unwavering commitment to shaping young minds and empowering the youth. Mr. Mehta also acknowledged the transformative impact that LUMS is making not only in Pakistan but also beyond its borders. He reiterated Unilever's unwavering commitment to engaging with the academic community, fueling innovation, promoting sustainable practices, and nurturing local talent to pave the way for a brighter future.
The visit of Mr. Mehta to LUMS represents a landmark moment in fostering mutual growth and cooperation between academia and industry. It exemplifies the shared vision of both LUMS and Unilever to contribute meaningfully to Pakistan's social and economic development. The event marks a pivotal step in further strengthening the partnership between LUMS and Unilever, with a shared commitment to nurturing talent and driving innovation for a brighter future.