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Vindi Banga's Out at Unilever

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Another top executive at Unilever is exiting after a long career at the packaged-goods giant.

Vindi Banga, president of global foods, home and personal care, will leave at the end of May, Unilever said today. Since joining the company in 1977, Banga has held a series of local, regional and global roles. In 2005, he became president of foods; three years later he added responsibility for the home and personal care categories.

As a senior exec at the company, Banga, 55, was seen as a candidate to succeed previous worldwide CEO Patrick Cescau. Unilever, however, went outside to fill the top job with Nestle's Paul Polman, who started last year.

In a statement, Polman described Banga as a "great leader" who has had a "very successful" career at Unilever. "He was responsible for a significant improvement in our innovation results, delivering bigger ideas with global scale, and he will leave a lasting impact on the company," Polman said.

Word of Banga's exit comes a month after Unilever said that Simon Clift was stepping down as global chief marketing officer, after 28 years with the company. Unilever promoted Keith Weed, an executive vp of home care, oral care and water brands, to assume the top marketing role.

Michael Polk (pictured above), president of the Americas, will succeed Banga. Dave Lewis, chairman of the U.K. and Ireland region, will fill Polk's current post.

Polk, 49, has worked at Unilever since 2003. As president of the Americas, he oversaw $18 billion worth of business in North America and Latin America.

Before Unilever, Polk spent 16 years at Kraft Foods, lastly as a group vp for Kraft Foods North America and president of biscuits, snacks and confections. "He is a remarkably talented and highly experienced marketer and consumer goods operator," Polman said.

Lewis, 45, has led the U.K. and Ireland region since February 2007. He joined Unilever as a marketing trainee in 1987 and has held brand, customer management and operational posts in several regions, including the U.K., Argentina and Indonesia.

Unilever, whose global revenue totaled about $57 billion last year, has 270 brands in 13 categories that are marketed in 200 countries. Eleven of those brands generate more than $1 billion in sales annually, according to the company.

See also: "Unilever Advances Randy Quinn"