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Lead Data Scientist

Job ID:
Data & Analytics
Date posted:

JOB TITLE: Lead Data Scientist


The Lead Data Scientist improves business performance in the functional area of Unilever they serve, through the application of world class data science capability.  They have end to end ownership for data science on major global initiatives, to include data and modeling approach, technical design, and leadership of team members whether Unilever FTEs or 3rd party employees.

The Lead Data Scientist is an exciting role in the Data Science Centre of Excellence (CoE) team within D&A.  This team builds state of the art machine learning algorithms, maximising the impact of D&A’s solutions in driving enterprise performance.  Typical initiatives include optimizing trade promotion investments, accurately forecasting customer demand, using NLP to glean insight on consumer trends from search data, and making individual assortment recommendations for each of the millions of stores that sell Unilever products.  The role will work closely with a D&A functional team such as Customer Development or Supply Chain along with business stakeholders, addressing both large transformation programs and near-term business problems.


For Unilever to remain competitive in the future, the business needs to continue on the path to become data intelligent. The Data & Analytics team will persevere to make Unilever Data Intelligent, powering key decisions with data, insights, advanced analytics and AI. Our ambition is to enable democratization of data, information and insights as a completely agile organization that builds fantastic careers for our people and is accountable for delivering great work that maximizes impact and delivers growth.

This Data & Analytics function endeavours to create clear accountability for all aspects of Data Strategy, Data Management, Information Management, Analytics, and Insights. We are accountable for impact of solutions, maintaining market relevance and minimising unnecessary overlaps in analytics products, ensuring simplicity and that our solutions better meet the needs of our users. We partner with the Digital and Data Legal Counsel to ensure that our Data Defence (Privacy, Governance, Quality, etc) is well structured and sufficiently robust to use data and AI correctly throughout the enterprise. We democratize information across the business, while supporting the culture shift required for data driven decision making.

Our vision is to make Unilever data intelligent, partnering with the business to power key decisions with data, advanced analytics and AI to accelerate growth.   Our 5 strategies to achieve this are:

  • Accelerate & simplify access to relevant data, information and insights
  • Build in-house, leading-edge data, information, insights & analytics capability
  • Lead the data & insights culture and careers to empower employees across Unilever
  • Rapidly embed analytics products, solutions and services to drive growth
  • Advance Information Automation at Scale


  • Interact with relevant teams to identify business challenges where data science can help
  • Apply comprehensive data science knowledge to propose optimal techniques for key business challenges
  • Create detailed data science proposals and project plans, flagging any limitations of proposed solution
  • Design and prototype experimental solutions, particularly machine learning models
  • Design scaled solutions and ensure high quality and timely delivery
  • Facilitate industrialization and ongoing operation of solutions through well organised code, clear documentation and collaboration with ML Ops resources
  • Govern the work of 3rd party vendors where needed to support delivery, while maximising creation of Unilever IP
  • Represent Data Science in cross-functional governance of projects, engaging with stakeholders up to VP level
  • Highlight recent developments in data science capability which could solve additional challenges, and recommend strategic areas of new capability to develop
  • Lead a team of up to 10 Data Scientists and Senior Data Scientists, providing career mentorship and line management
  • Provide technical guidance to data scientists across D&A, particularly on the projects you lead
  • Support the growth of D&A’s data science capability by leading activities such as tool and vendor selection, best practice definition, recruitment, and creation of training materials
  • Build the reputation of D&A’s data science capability within Unilever and externally, through activities such as presenting up to exec level, community engagement (e.g. Yammer), publications, blogs, speaking at conferences and participating in industry steering groups.
  • Provide ad-hoc & immediate support to the business when needed (for example Covid-19 crisis support)

Depending on the specific project, the Lead Data Scientist can expect 40-60% of their work to be hands-on prototyping solutions, with the remainder spent planning and designing, overseeing and reviewing work of project staff, interfacing with stakeholders and managing team members.

Key Interfaces:


Unilever operational, marketing, customer development, supply chain, product & finance teams

Internal D&A teams (Engagement teams; Data CoE; Solution Factory; BDL Factory; Information Factory; Tech Transformation)

Wider Unilever analytics and data science professionals


3rd party Data Science vendors


Industry bodies


  • Minimum of B.S. in a relevant technical field (e.g., Computer Science, Statistics, Engineering, Operations Research); preferably a postgraduate (Masters or Doctorate) degree
  • Proven track record of building data science solutions to solve business problems, preferably in the CPG industry
  • Experience with open source languages (e.g. Python) and equivalent tools for distributed computing (PySpark)
  • Experience deploying solutions in a modern cloud-based architecture
  • Experience managing the work of team members and 3rd party resource vendors
  • Experience presenting insights and influencing decisions of senior non-technical stakeholders

Standards of Leadership Required in This Role

  • Personal Mastery (Data-science and advanced analytics)
  • Agility
  • Business acumen
  • Passion for High Performance

Key Skills Required

Professional Skills

  • Machine learning                                                                              Expert
  • Statistical modelling                                                                        Expert
  • Forecasting                                                                                       Expert
  • Optimisation techniques and tools                                               Fully Operational
  • Python coding                                                                                   Fully Operational
  • Data science platform tools e.g. MS Azure, Databricks            Fully Operational
  • Deep learning (and applications to NLP & Computer Vision)   Fully Operational
  • Collaborative development using Git repos                                 Fully Operational
  • Automated Machine Learning platforms                                      Foundational knowledge

While a broad data science technical background is required, the role will benefit from deeper skills (for example post-doctoral research) in one of the following areas, optimization, simulation, forecasting, natural language processing, computer vision or geospatial analysis.

General Skills

  • Project Management                                                              Expert
  • Communication / presentation skills                                  Expert
  • 3rd party resource management                                          Expert
  • CPG Industry analytics                                                           Expert

Strong communication and stakeholder engagement skills are essential, including the ability to influence peers and senior business stakeholders across Unilever.


Please apply online by clicking on “Apply” below. Your application will be reviewed against our requirements. Should you not meet our immediate requirements, your profile will be registered in our talent pool system and we will match your profile to suitable future vacancies.

You will be able to access your status update through the candidate tracking link.

Thank you for your interest and application.

Unilever is an organisation committed to equity, inclusion and diversity to drive our business results and create a better future, every day, for our diverse employees, global consumers, partners, and communities. We believe a diverse workforce allows us to match our growth ambitions and drive inclusion across the business. At Unilever we are interested in every individual bringing their ‘Whole Self’ to work and this includes you! Thus if you require any support or access requirements, we encourage you to advise us at the time of your application so that we can support you through your recruitment journey.

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