Patrick Cescau
Group Chief Executive

Patrick Cescau was born in Paris in 1948. He was appointed Group Chief Executive of the combined Unilever PLC and Unilever N.V. business in April 2005 and is the first person to hold this new position in the company’s history.

Patrick began his career in 1973 when he joined Unilever France as an organization officer.  Since then his career has taken him to many countries across the world. He has held senior positions with Unilever in Germany, The Netherlands, Indonesia, Portugal, and in the US.

In 1998 he was appointed controller and deputy financial director. In May 1999 was appointed financial director of Unilever, a position he held until August 2000 when he relinquished that role to lead the integration of Bestfoods. On January 1, 2001 he took up the position as director of the company's global Foods division.

In October 2004 Patrick was appointed Chairman of Unilever PLC and Deputy Chairman of Unilever N.V.  Patrick stepped down from these roles when, in April 2005, Unilever changed its management structure to one with a single non-executive chairman and a single chief executive.

Patrick and his German-born wife, Ursula, live in London and have two children. His main interests include reading, golf and photography.

Patrick was educated at ESSEC, graduating with a business degree, and later an MBA with distinction from INSEAD.

Patrick is a non-executive director of Pearson PLC and a Conseiller du Commerce Exterieur de la France in Holland. He was awarded the Légion d'Honneur in January 2005.

The Botwinick Prize in Ethics was established with a generous endowment from the late Benjamin Botwinick, BS '26, and his wife, Bessie. Each year the Botwinick Prize in Ethics recognizes an outstanding leader who exhibits the highest standard of ethical conduct in business or the professions. Past recipients include Joan Bavaria, Founding President and CEO of Trillium Asset Management; Henry Kravis ‘69, founding partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and founder and chairman of the New York City Investment Fund; and Howard Schultz, chairman and chief global strategist of Starbucks Coffee Company.

The Botwinick Prize is organized under the auspices of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics and is an integral part of Columbia Business School’s Individual, Business and Society curriculum, which emphasizes a commitment to leadership and ethics through core courses, extracurricular activities and research.

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