Vasiliki Petrou, executive vice-president and chief executive of Unilever’s premium division Unilever Prestige, has been named Woman of the Year at the 2024 World Retail Congress in Paris.

Having joined Unilever in 2012 and with more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Petrou founded Unilever Prestige and has taken responsibility for opening the global brand to a whole new industry in the luxury sector.

Petrou was formerly global managing director at Procter & Gamble and led its Max Factor global business.

She was recognised for her achievements in expanding Unilever to the luxury sphere and building the Unilever Prestige business.

Awarded at the Women in Retail reception and presentation held at the Avenue Montaigne Dior store, Petrou joined a panel hosted by American Eagle and Aerie president Jennifer Foyle and sat alongside Milani Cosmetics chief executive Mary van Praag and Catalyst director Jessica Taylor-Hall.

Altrua founding partner Lucy Harris, who presented the award, said: “Vasiliki embodies the description of a remarkable leader. Her team says she breaks the mould in the bold and caring moves that she makes.

“Her mission is to ‘give healthy skin and help people do well’ and ‘helping women advance’ is an ideology that encapsulates her driving force in business.

“She is obsessed by progress and her decade of global results as CEO for Unilever Prestige speak for themselves. I am very proud to be honouring Vasiliki at this year’s World Retail Congress in Paris.”

World Retail Congress chair Ian McGarrigle said: “We were delighted to name Vasiliki as the Woman of the Year.

“Our aim with the award is to recognise someone who is not only a proven leader but who is helping to show the way for all women in retail.

“As Vasiliki demonstrated in her acceptance speech, she has done more than that with her passion for helping promote the careers of women, not just in her own business but across the industry.”