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Unilever's incoming CEO sticks with 2020 margin target

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Unilever's incoming CEO sticks with 2020 margin target

Unilever's incoming CEO sticks with 2020 margin target
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Stringer .(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) - Unilever's <ULVR.L> <UNc.AS> 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 CEO of the consumer goods giant in January, made the comment during an investor event in India, a spokeswoman said.

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Following last year's unsolicited $143 billion (111.54 billion pounds) takeover attempt by Kraft-Heinz <KHC.O>, 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.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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