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Homecare Digital and Automation Director

Posted: 19 May 2021 Closes: 19 Jul 2021
Bebington, United Kingdom Competitive
Permanent & Full-time URUVGLOBAL4151

Homecare R&D Digital and Automation Director

Location - Port Sunlight, UK


Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2 billion consumers a day. Unilever has more than 400 brands found in homes around the world, including Persil, Dove, Knorr, Domestos, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, PG Tips, Ben & Jerry’s, Marmite, Magnum and Lynx. Faced with the challenge of climate change and the need for human development, we want to move towards a world where everyone can live well and within the natural limits of the planet. That’s why our purpose is ‘to make sustainable living commonplace”

The future begins in Research & Development (R&D). In R&D, you’ll find out what consumers want and need, and then design the science and technology to make our innovations come to life. We have over 6,000 R&D employees designing, creating and developing exciting new products using innovative technologies - from scientists and product development experts to professionals such as hairdressers and chefs who have the skills to evaluate new products. You could be designing and developing new innovations for brands like TRESemmé, Magnum, Cornetto and Domestos – straight from your team to the shelves! 

At the core of our values is sustainability, and our teams are dedicated to making our products better for you, for our customers and for the world. We are committed to ensuring that all of our packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and that we are using more recycled content. To achieve this, we collaborate closely either within the various R&D teams, with other Unilever colleagues like Marketeers and the Supply Chain, and with leading scientific experts from around the world. ​  


We Make Some of The World’s Best-known Brands – All Are On a Journey To Reducing Their Environmental Footprint And Increasing Their Positive Social Impact, Exemplified In The Homecare Divisions Clean Future Strategy

Here at Unilever we’ve been Pioneers, Innovators and Future-Makers For Over 120 Years. Every day, 2.5 billion people use Unilever products to feel good, look good and get more out of life. With more than 400 brands bought in 190 countries, we have a unique opportunity to work with consumers to make sustainable living commonplace. Unilever is the place where you can bring your purpose to life with the work that you do – creating a better business and a better world. 

To deliver the ambitions of Clean Future we need to change the way we do R&D. We are looking for a leader who can accelerate the transformation of Homecare R&D to be fully end-to-end automated and digital.


The triple Clean Future challenges of superior product experience, affordability for consumers whilst switching the entire industrial system to a renewable, biodegradable, low waste and ultimately net zero system are the most stretching in the industry. They will be tough to achieve without acceleration of our Digital R&D capabilities. Much progress has been made in digitizing and automating R&D, but the need to build a dynamic, responsive, end to end innovation machine in Homecare that accelerates Clean Future innovation is much bigger still and needs to happen fast.

The Homecare R&D Digital Innovation Director will be responsible for making this change happen.

The four parts to the role are:

  • Firstly, to further build on the world-leading work to date to accelerate Homecare R&D’s ‘in- silico first’ capability, using data, modelling and simulations to dramatically simplify and speed up product development and cost saving.
  • Secondly, to take this capability to the next level to explore new ways to create and innovate based on data and technology, for example going from consumer insight to product launch without human intervention (the concept we have called dynamic superiority).
  • Thirdly, to ensure that lab automation and autonomous systems are integrated into the digital strategy and Unilever is at the forefront of lab automation and data collection.
  • A fourth element of the role is present but is small scale today. This is an opportunity for expansion of the role in the future. The incumbent will be tasked to identify routes to entirely new streams of innovation and revenue through digitally-enabled innovation and models – for example services, platforms and / or devices.

The role involves developing world-class digital talent, capability and culture, building and executing effective partnerships inside and outside Unilever, working closely with R&D, Marketing, Digital and Technology capability teams, and as needed the Unilever Foundry.


Your Experience

• Outstanding experience in developing and scaling digital innovations, preferably in the consumer space

• Experience of development of autonomous systems and robotics.

• Ideally, start-up/scale-up experience as well as corporate.

• Experience in delivering transformational change in large organisations

• Experience as innovation change agent, with the ability to mobilize large groups to adopt new ways of thinking & working

• Ability to lead and develop high-performing teams (>10 people) and embedding an agile and empowering culture

• Strong consumer experience, with the ability to translate technology into product benefits and consumer needs addressed

• Ideally, but not essentially some experience of Homecare.

Your Skills

• Excellent team leadership and people skills: direction with empowerment, agility and a non- hierarchical/network-driven approach.

• Strong innovation, marketing and business acumen, being able to engage and inspire teams from different functions into working together as one.

• Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to influence and build strong & trustworthy relationships with people from across different functions.

• Entrepreneurial skills (high resilience, leading in uncertainty, positive, network-oriented, resourceful, consumer obsessed) with the ability to build and inspire high-performing teams

• Externally focused, always looking for opportunities to create value leveraging the ecosystem

• Highly pro-active, strong growth mindset, continuously looking for opportunities, passionate about both creating and landing these mixes

What Do We Offer?

An opportunity to work across multiple Homecare categories and purposeful brands, with Unilever’s fastest growing Division.

To be part of a diverse and ambitious team shaping the future of Homecare product development.

We are looking for the right people for our roles and our ambition, we are open to talk about how our flexible working policies can make this role the right one for you.

Not only do we offer a competitive salary, but also our pension scheme, an annual bonus, a free gym, a staff shop and shares. You’ll get the opportunity to work directly with our renowned and exciting brands in a flexible and agile environment. We strive to achieve a family-friendly culture and to, above all, create possibilities for all.

Diversity at Unilever is about inclusion, embracing differences, creating possibilities and growing together for better business performance. We embrace diversity in our workforce. This means giving full and fair consideration to all applicants and continuing development of all employees regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.

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