Colgate-Palmolive Company at a Glance


  • Competitive pay and benefits
  • Strong brand name


  • Long hours
  • Tough to stand out or be entrepreneurial due to scale of organization

The Bottom Line

  • Colgate-Palmolive is a top employer with a reputation for treating its employees well. As a result, this is a firm where people tend to stick around and build careers for the long term.

About Colgate-Palmolive Company

Colgate-Palmolive takes a bite out of grime. The company is a top global maker and marketer of toothpaste and soap and cleaning products. Colgate-Palmolive also offers pet nutrition products through subsidiary Hill's Pet Nutrition, which makes Science Diet and Prescription Diet pet foods. Many of its oral care products fall under the Colgate brand and include toothbrushes, mouthwash, and dental floss. Its Tom's of Maine unit covers the natural toothpaste niche. Personal and home care items include Ajax brand household cleaner, Palmolive dishwashing liquid, Softsoap shower gel, and Sanex and Speed Stick deodorants. The company has operations in 80-plus countries and sells its products in more than 200 countries.


Colgate-Palmolive comprises two product segments: Oral, Personal, and Home Care (85% of net sales); and Pet Nutrition (15%). Within the larger segment, oral care products account for 45% of sales, while personal and home care each account for about 20%.

Colgate is a leader in the global oral care market with the leading toothpaste and manual toothbrush brands in many parts of the world. The oral care business also includes dental floss and pharmaceutical products for dentists and other oral health practitioners.

Through its Hill's Pet Nutrition segment, Colgate-Palmolive is a world leader in specialty pet nutrition products for dogs and cats with products marketed in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Geographic Reach

About 75% of the company's revenues are generated from markets outside the US, with more than 50% coming from emerging markets (Latin America, Asia -- excluding Japan, Africa/Eurasia, and Central Europe).

Outside of the US, Colgate-Palmolive operates approximately 260 properties, of which 75 are company owned, in more than 80 countries. Major non-US facilities of by the Oral, Personal, and Home Care segment are located in Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Greece, India, Italy, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela, and Vietnam. The Pet Nutrition business has major plants in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

Colgate-Palmolive also has shared business service centers in Mexico, Poland, and India.

Sales and Marketing

Colgate-Palmolive markets its products through advertising, including TV and print, and other promotional activities. It has a direct sales force at individual operating subsidiaries or business units and also uses distributors or brokers.

Oral, Personal, and Home Care sales to Wal-Mart represent about 10% of the company's total sales each year.

Financial Performance

Colgate-Palmolive's revenues have declined the last two years, dipping 5% from $16 billion in 2015 to $15.2 billion in 2016. The recent decline was attributed to a 7% drop in Oral, Personal, and Home Care sales. This segment was affected by negative foreign currency translations and the impact of the deconsolidation of its Venezuelan operations.

This was offset by a 4% increase in Oral, Personal and Home Care organic sales, with the toothpaste and manual toothbrush categories contributing to growth. Personal Care and Home Care also contributed to the growth in 2016 due to strong organic sales in the shower gel and the fabric softener categories, respectively.

The company's net income, on the other hand, surged by more than 75% from $1.4 billion in 2015 to $2.4 billion in 2016. This was fueled by lower operating expenses in addition to a gain on sale of land in Mexico and benefits from previously disclosed tax matters.


Colgate-Palmolive's strategy is to increase its market share in key product categories, and the company is organized to achieve this goal. Its management teams function along geographic lines and are accountable for each region's business and financial results. Colgate-Palmolive points to its geographic diversity as a way to reduce its risk in any one part of its business.

Colgate-Palmolive's management focuses on a variety of key indicators to monitor business health and performance like market share, net sales, organic sales growth, gross profit margin, operating profit, net income and earnings per share, as well as measures used to optimize the management of working capital, capital expenditures, cash flow and return on capital.

A major restructuring program has helped tighten Colgate-Palmolive's global supply chain and realign its sales, marketing, and new product organizations to serve both mature and developing markets. This and other cost-saving initiatives have freed up additional funds to invest in product research and support. (The company's growth is reliant on the success of its existing product line, as well as the successful development and launch of new products.) In 2016, the company announced a plan to expand its 2012 restructuring program in the areas of expanding commercial hubs extending shared business services; streamlining global functions; and optimizing global supply chain and facilities.

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Colgate-Palmolive Company

300 Park Ave Fl 3
New York, NY 10022-7499
Phone: 1 (212) 310-2000
Fax: 1 (212) 310-2923


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: CL
  • Stock Exchange: NYSE
  • Chairman, President, and CEO: Ian M. Cook
  • Chief Supply Chain Officer: Michael A. Corbo
  • Vice Chairman: Franck J. Moison
  • 2017 Employees: 35,900

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY

Other Locations

  • North Little Rock, AR
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Ontario, CA
  • Aurora, CO
  • Marlborough, CT
  • Wilmington, DE
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Duluth, GA
  • Richmond, IN
  • Emporia, KS
  • Topeka, KS
  • Bowling Green, KY
  • Mansfield, MA
  • Elkridge, MD
  • Kennebunk, ME
  • Sanford, ME
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Burlington, NJ
  • Highland Park, NJ
  • Piscataway, NJ
  • Chester, NY
  • Queens Village, NY
  • Cambridge, OH
  • Hodges, SC
  • Morristown, TN
  • Smyrna, TN
  • Carrollton, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Texarkana, TX
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Putney, VT
  • Kent, WA
  • Boisbriand, Canada
  • Calgary, Canada
  • Mississauga, Canada
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Shanghai, China
  • Cali, Colombia
  • Espoo, Finland
  • Compiegne, France
  • Rillieux La Pape, France
  • Baie Mahault, Guadeloupe
  • Anzio, Italy
  • Roma, Italy
  • Osaka, Japan
  • Le Lamentin, Martinique
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Saint Paul, Réunion
  • Binh Duong, Vietnam
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