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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 is a leader in toothpaste (it has more than 40% of the global market) and soap and cleaning products. The company 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. Colgate-Palmolive sells its products in more than 200 countries and generates most of its sales outside the US.


Colgate-Palmolive operates through two product segments: Oral, Personal, and Home Care (85% of sales) and Pet Nutrition (15%).

Oral, Personal, and Home Care products include toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouthwash; bar and liquid hand soaps; shower gels, shampoos, and conditioners; deodorants and antiperspirants; dishwashing detergents; household cleaners; and similar items. Oral care products account for more than 45% of total company sales, while personal and home care each account for about 20%.

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 70% of Colgate-Palmolive's revenue is generated from markets outside the US, with approximately 50% coming from emerging markets (Latin America, Central Europe, Africa/Eurasia, and Asia -- excluding Japan). In total, its products are available in some 200 countries and territories worldwide.

In the US, the company operates about 60 properties. Major facilities for the Oral, Personal and Home Care segment are in New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Ohio. The Pet Nutrition segment has major facilities in Kentucky, Kansas, and Indiana.

Outside of the US, Colgate-Palmolive operates about 260 properties in more than 80 countries. Major non-US facilities for the Oral, Personal, and Home Care segment are in about 15 countries in Australia, Europe, Asia, and South America. The Pet Nutrition business has major plants in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

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

Sales and Marketing

Colgate-Palmolive's oral, personal, and home care products are sold to a variety of traditional and e-commerce retailers, wholesalers, and distributors; Pet nutrition products are sold by authorized pet supply retailers, veterinarians, and e-commerce retailers. Walmart is the company's largest customer, representing about 10% of the total sales.

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

Advertising costs were $1.7 billion for 2019, $1.6 billion for 2018, and $1.6 billion for 2017.

Financial Performance

Net sales were $15.7 billion in 2019, up 1% from 2018, as volume growth of 3% and net selling price increases of 2% were partially offset by negative foreign exchange of 4%. The Company's acquisition of Filorga increased volume by 1%.

Net income attributable to Colgate-Palmolive Company was $2.37 billion in 2019 compared to $2.4 billion in 2018. In 2019 and 2018, Net income attributable to Colgate-Palmolive Company included aftertax charges related to the Global Growth and Efficiency Program. In 2019, Net income attributable to Colgate-Palmolive Company also included aftertax acquisition-related costs, an aftertax benefit related to a value-added tax matter in Brazil and a tax benefit related to Swiss income tax reform.

Cash held by the company increased $157 million to $883 million in 2019, compared to $726 million in the prior year. Cash provided by operations was $3.1 billion, while cash used for investing and financing activities were $2.1 billion and $870 million, respectively.


Colgate-Palmolive Company seeks to deliver strong, consistent business results and superior shareholder returns by providing consumers globally with products that make their lives healthier and more enjoyable. To this end, the company is tightly focused on two product segments: Oral, Personal and Home Care; and Pet Nutrition. Within these segments, Colgate-Palmolive follows a closely defined business strategy to grow its key product categories and increase its overall market share. Within the categories in which it competes, Colgate-Palmolive prioritizes its efforts based on the company's capacity to maximize the use of the organization's core competencies and strong global equities and to deliver sustainable long-term growth.

Over the course of the Global Growth and Efficiency Program, the majority of the costs incurred related to the following projects: the implementation of the Company's overall hubbing strategy; the consolidation of facilities; the extension of shared business services and streamlining of global functions; the closing of the Morristown, New Jersey personal care facility; the simplification and streamlining of the Company's research and development capabilities and oral care supply chain, both in Europe; redesigning the European commercial organization; restructuring how the Company will provide future retirement benefits to substantially all of the U.S.-based employees participating in the Company's defined benefit retirement plan by shifting them to the Company's defined contribution plan; and the implementation of a Corporate efficiencies program.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In its largest acquisition in decades, Colgate-Palmolive in mid-2019 announced plans to purchase French skin care company Laboratoires Filorga for $1.7 billion. The deal will add a new premium product to Colgate's higher-margin personal care portfolio and will expand it into the fast-growing travel retail channel.

Company Background

William Colgate founded The Colgate Company in Manhattan in 1806 to produce soap, candles, and starch. Colgate died in 1857, and the company was passed to his son Samuel, who renamed it Colgate and Company. In 1873 the company introduced toothpaste in jars, and in 1896 it began selling Colgate Dental Cream in tubes. By 1906 Colgate was making 160 kinds of soap, 625 perfumes, and 2,000 other products. The company went public in 1908.

In 1898 Milwaukee's B. J. Johnson Soap Company (founded 1864) introduced Palmolive, a soap made of palm and olive oils rather than smelly animal fats. It became so popular that the firm changed its name to The Palmolive Company in 1916. Ten years later Palmolive merged with Peet Brothers, a Kansas City-based soap maker founded in 1872. Palmolive-Peet merged with Colgate in 1928, forming Colgate-Palmolive-Peet (shortened to Colgate-Palmolive in 1953).

Colgate-Palmolive Company

300 Park Ave FL 8
New York, NY 10022-7499
Phone: 1 (212) 310-2000

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: CL
Stock Exchange: , NYSE
Chairman, President, and CEO: Ian M. Cook
CFO: Dennis J. Hickey
Vice Chairman: Franck J. Moison
Employees (This Location): 3,000
Employees (All Locations): 34,300

Major Office Locations

New York, NY

Other Locations

North Little Rock, AR
Phoenix, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ
Ontario, CA
Aurora, CO
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
Carrollton, TX
Houston, TX
Texarkana, TX
Salt Lake City, UT
Putney, VT
Kent, WA
Shanghai, China
Anzio, Italy
Roma, Italy
Osaka, Japan
Boisbriand, Canada
Calgary, Canada
Mississauga, Canada
Toronto, Canada
Compiegne, France
Rillieux La Pape, France
Espoo, Finland
Saint Paul, RĂ©union
Binh Duong, Vietnam
Cali, Colombia
Baie Mahault, Guadeloupe
Le Lamentin, Martinique
Auckland, New Zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand