Newell Rubbermaid Snags Unilever Exec as New Boss

Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE:NWL) opened higher on Friday after reporting late Thursday that it has tapped a Unilever (NYSE:UL) president as its new chief executive.

Former head of global foods, home and personal care at the London-based consumer goods company, Mike Polk will become the new boss at Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid on July 18, replacing Mark Ketchum who is retiring.

The current CEO, who announced in January his intention to retire after being recruited from the board five years ago to lead the company, will remain a direct until the companys next board elections in May 2012.

Polk, 50, served eight years at Unilever, and has been credited with transforming the companys business in the Americas and sharpening its portfolio strategy. He has also been a member of the Unilever executive board since 2007 and a member of Newell Rubbermaid's board of directors since 2009.

Prior to Unilever, he spent 16 years with Kraft Foods (NYSE:KFT), where he served as president of Asia Pacific region and president of Nabisco biscuit and snacks.