Consumer goods giant Unilever is poised to award a £500m HR outsourcing deal to consulting firm Accenture.
The Anglo-Dutch group, which owns brands including Birds Eye, Flora and Comfort, has confirmed that Accenture is the front-runner to win the global contract, which covers back-office functions for Unilever’s HR, learning and procurement operations.
The two companies are currently in a period of due diligence. Unilever will announce the deal by mid-March, if it decides to proceed with Accenture, reports the Times.
Late last year, Unilever asked Accenture and IBM to examine the possibility of taking on its finance, HR, learning and IT operations, and moving them to Eastern Europe and India.
Unilever said in December that it had signed a seven-year contract to outsource its financial administration in Europe to IBM. IBM and Accenture both bidded for the HR outsourcing.
An Accenture spokesman said the group has had “a long relationship with Unilever” and is “pleased to be discussing an expansion of our work”.
Outsourcing by Unilever is expected to lead to job cuts. Sources said that the move could result in the loss of up to 2,500 jobs across Europe.
Unilever employs 234,000 people in about 100 countries.