Steve joined Unilever as a trainee and progressed to finance manager of United Agricultural Merchants. In 1987 he was briefly the general manager of a recently acquired Unilever company in the north of England and following its integration, was appointed to manage a programme of acquisitions.
In 1990 he moved into Unilever's global soap and toiletries division working on global strategy, information strategy, the analysis of global results and advancing the world-wide co-ordination of materials purchasing. Although based in London, this role involved extensive travel, particularly to the USA. This was followed by four years as Unilever's finance director in Greece, during which time his responsibilities included a major company restructuring, a pension fund start up, the disposal of a major subsidiary and the building and implementation of a semi-automated warehouse.
Steve was then appointed European financial controller based in Brussels, and in November 1998 moved back to the UK to Lever Faberge Ltd as financial and IT director. This period included the merger of Lever Brothers and Elida Faberge, the development of a state of the art automated warehouse facility and the pilot implementation of SAP European roll-out. Late 2003, he led the Unilever House Transformation (completed 2007) as project director for the Chairman's Office, in addition to the role of finance director of its UK Services business.