FMCG goods 'recession-resistant', says Unilever Asia president

HONG KONG - Unilever's president for Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Haresh Manwani, says he is very optimistic about growth in the developing world but doesn't see the developed world bouncing back any time soon.

FMCG goods 'recession-resistant', says Unilever Asia president

Manwani was a panelist at the Standard Chartered CEO Power Session and at CNBC Asia Pacific’s 9th Asia Business Leader Awards, held on Thursday 25 November 2010 at the Capella Hotel, Singapore.

A Unilever veteran of 26 years, Manwani says that business continues to grow in developing markets, and that many FMCG brands are resistant to recession, "because people still have to wash their hair and brush their teeth."

"It’s business as usual on growth," he said, "but not business as usual on cost," adding that there is a need for dynamic planning and shorter cycles because "tomorrow won’t be the same as today."

Concluded Manwani, "You have to make sure you have the organisational capability to deal with growth, productivity has to go side by side with growth."

Hosted by CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo, six awards were presented on the night.

The Asia Business Leader Award went to AM Naik, chairman and managing director of Larsen & Toubro; the Lifetime Achievement Award to Sir Gordon Wu, chairman of Hopewell Holdings.

The Asia Innovator Award went to Yancey Hai, CEO of Delta Electronics, Taiwan and the Asia Talent Management Award to Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala, chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation.

YTL Corporation BHD’s managing director Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr.) Francis Yeoh took home the Corporate Social Responsibility Award and Asia’s Viewers Choice Award went to Ajai Chowdhry, chairman and CEO of HCL Infosystems after he received the most votes from CNBC’s viewers in Asia-Pacific.

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