Leena Nair

Leena Nair

Chief Human Resources Officer, Unilever

Catalyst for Change & Proud Mother

"To ignite the human spark – to build a better business, and a better world".

She is the first female, first Asian, youngest ever CHRO of Unilever and member of the Unilever Leadership Executive (ULE), which is responsible for delivering Unilever’s business & financial performance.

Leena bears overall responsibility for the 160,000-strong human capital of Unilever, which operates across multiple regulatory and labour environments spread over 190 countries. She ensures the company has the right people, in the right roles, with the right capabilities and mindset to deliver high business performance that enables Unilever to meet its ambitious business growth with environmental and positive social impact. She also heads the Diversity and Inclusion agenda for the organisation ensuring that its workforce is truly diverse and inclusive.

In her time in Hindustan Unilever, Leena became the first woman in the Management Committee in 90 years heading HR. She was also appointed the first woman on the Unilever South Asia Leadership Team, responsible for Unilever's growth in five markets with business size around 6 billion Euros. Throughout her career, Leena has gained a strong reputation, not only for optimising costs and driving margins – but also for igniting outstanding business growth. Calculated risk and experimentation, together with an outside-in view of her customer ensures that her people and business stay three clicks ahead.

Key External Positions

  • Non-Executive Board Member - Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy of the United Kingdom
  • Member of the Trust Board - Leverhulme Trust
  • Advisors of the International Council - Bocconi University, Italy
  • Steering Committee member of the Global Future Council on New Social Contract, World Economic Forum (2018-present)
  • Steering Committee member of The Future of Education, Gender and Work, World Economic Forum (2017-present)
  • Member Women’s Network Forum hosted by Countess of Wessex, FTSE Mentoring Programme (2017-present)
  • Member of networks including Winmark, CHRO Roundtable, HR50, Financial Times 125, Spencer Stuart Directors’ Forum (2014 – present)
  • Chairman of Unilever Industries Pvt Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever Plc. (2010-2014)
  • Chairman of Hindustan Field services limited, Director of Unilever Nepal (2010-2013)
  • Chairman of Maharashtra Council Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) (2012)
  • Member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) – Mumbai & London Chapter

Awards and Recognitions

  • Recognised by HRH Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain as one of the accomplished Indian Business Leaders in the UK
  • Part of Thinkers50 List of 2019 – Thinkers Who Will Shape the Future of Business
  • Top 10 list of FT HERoes Champions of Women in Business by the Financial Times (2017-2018)
  • Top 20 List of BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) leaders by the Financial Times (2016-2018)
  • Making Waves in HR Award by HR Magazine (2017)
  • Part of Female FTSE Board Report 2017 - 100 Women to Watch
  • Part of BAME 100 Board Talent Index 2017 and GG2 Power List 2017
  • Business Today list of 25 most powerful women in business for 7 consecutive years
  • UK First Women Award in the category of Retail & Consumer (2015)
  • Ranked among the 50 most influential women in India by Verve Magazine
  • Conferred "HR Champion" by Hindustan Times and 'HR Leader of the Year' by STAR News Talent Leadership

Personal Interests – A proud wife to Kumar, who runs his own financial services business in Mumbai, and mother of two teenage sons. Her passions are cooking, running, cycling, attending the theatre and Bollywood dancing. Ever mindful of her childhood in India, where she cycled to school to get an education, she is grateful for every one of life’s opportunities.


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