Under FitzGerald's command, Unilever has performed pretty fairly, especially when one considers that Unilever operates in numerous mature markets with ruthless supermarket customers to please. As for its agencies, the consumer goods giant has increasingly set high store by good advertising and showed itself willing to look outside its global "club" agencies and embrace creatively led local shops. May FitzGerald's successor, Patrick Cescau, build on his legacy.
Advertising will lose one of its best client champions when Niall FitzGerald retires as Unilever's chairman in September. After 37 years with Unilever, 13 years on the board and eight as chairman, he will hopefully not turn down the chance to chair another international brand-driven business if one becomes vacant.