For the last six months, Mehmet Altinok has been continuing as CEO the career he started at Unilever 24 years ago. The new CEO notes that 2013 was very successful and that their turnover reached $1.5 billion, adding that his priority is to continue this success.
He says that developing countries have grown very fast and that they won’t deviate from this target in 2014. “In terms of consumption, Turkey is far below the global norm,” he says and draws attention to its potential. “Personal care is the most underdeveloped market in Turkey.
The rates of penetration and consumption are far below world standards. There is a long way to go in personal care. The figures show that the fastest growth is in personal care,” he says. We spoke with Unilever Türkiye CEO Mehmet Altinok about how he took up his current post and about his plans.
You became Unilever CEO after 24 years at the company. What happened during those 24 years?
I saw an advertisement for a position at Unilever while I was performing my military service in the Turkish General Staff and I applied after I had completed my military service. I have not worked at another company. I started at the company in 1989 as a product manager.
Later I went to the Netherlands. I returned to Istanbul and then I went to Hungary. I came back and this time I went to China. The most interesting was China. It is a different life there, a different world. But every year at Unilever has been interesting. I have worked at Unilever for 24 years. Everybody is very happy I am here.
It is less than a year since you came and took up your position in Turkey. How did you find the company?
Unilever Türkiye is a very successful company. At Unilever, we are one of the top ten worldwide. We are successful in terms of turnover. The top item on my agenda is continuing this success. Turkey is a country which operates under difficult conditions. Being able to maintain success under difficult conditions is very important.