Leadership development facility opens
Unilever has announced the opening of Four Acres Singapore, the company’s first global leadership development centre outside of the UK. The €50m facility will have a key role in developing the talent to lead Unilever, as it aims to double the size of the business, while halving its environmental impact and increasing its positive social impact.
Unilever’s decision to locate the new facility in Asia highlights the company’s increasing focus on developing and emerging markets, which now account for more than 55% of its global revenue. In the past three years, Unilever has grown consistently, increasing turnover by more than €10bn. Four Acres Singapore will help increase the supply of talented leaders to sustain this momentum.
Four Acres Singapore will be used to develop leaders with a ‘purpose-driven’ approach to business. This is in keeping with the stance Unilever has taken throughout its history, where it has strongly advocated for corporations and corporate leaders to actively support the broader needs of society.
Singapore Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, opened the facility, accompanied by Mr Leo Yip, chairman, Singapore Economic Development Board, Mr Png Cheong Boon, chief executive officer, JTC Corporation, Mr Manohar Khiatani, president and CEO, Ascendas and Mr Paul Polman, chief executive officer, Unilever.
Four Acres Singapore will support Unilever’s efforts to develop tomorrow’s business leaders, said Mr Polman.
“In an increasingly volatile and uncertain world, a new type of leader is being called for – both in Unilever and society as a whole. These leaders must be guided by values and understand the responsibility of leadership for the 21st century. We will actively seek and develop these leaders through Four Acres.
“Four Acres London has set the standard in leadership development since it was established over 60 years ago, underpinning our commitment to nurturing world class talent. The launch of Four Acres Singapore will continue this tradition, further lifting our capacity and underlining our commitment to Asia – as an increasingly important hub for talent,” said Mr Polman.
Four Acres Singapore will deliver more than half of all of Unilever’s global leadership development programmes, as part of a single, fully global curriculum. The academic programme has been developed in partnership with some of the world’s leading academic and business institutions such as INSEAD, Harvard Business School and Singapore Management University. With the opening of the new campus, Unilever will have the capability to deliver training to about 2800 people annually, across both locations.
“The Economic Development Board (EDB) is delighted that Unilever has chosen Singapore to establish its first global leadership development centre outside of London. Four Acres Singapore is testament to Singapore’s ‘Home for Talent’ strategy for companies to access, develop and deploy talent. We proudly welcome Unilever as our strategic partner in talent development, and pioneering tenant at Nepal Hill,” said Mr Yip.
Mr Png added: “Unilever Four Acres Singapore is a key project for LINK@Nepal Hill and JTC’s one-north development. We congratulate Unilever for the successful set up of this leadership development facility and we look forward to its contribution to the growing knowledge community and talent pool within one-north.”
Singapore is the logical choice for the new campus, suggested Mr. Polman, given Unilever’s significant operation in the market, including the company’s global operations hub.
“Singapore sits at the nexus of the developed and emerging world. It’s a leading hub for leadership and innovation, and a gateway to the rapidly growing Asian economies. When our future leaders come here, whichever part of the world they come from, we know they will gain exposure to new insights and perspectives.
“The launch of Four Acres Singapore provides the opportunity to take leadership development – in the service of both Unilever and the communities where we operate – to a whole new level. This is an exciting opportunity and a historic moment in the life of the company,” concluded Mr Polman.