Treschow is currently chairman of Ericsson and Electrolux, but announced last month that he would leave Electrolux in April. He is also chairman of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, a post he will give up when his term expires in May.
Treschow will be the first non-executive chairman of Unilever, and the first person to be recruited as chairman from outside the company. He replaces Antony Burgmans, who has served as executive chairman.
“Michael Treschow is a businessman with a formidable track record gained in some of the world’s most competitive consumer industries,” said Burgmans in a statement.
“He has already proved himself an effective chairman and I have no doubt Unilever will benefit greatly from his knowledge and experience.”
Reacting to his appointment, Treschow said he was “honoured” to have been made Unilever chairman.
“It is a great business, with great brands and an unequalled global reach,” he said.
Unilever owns some of the world’s best-known brands, including ice cream brands Ben and Jerry’s, Walls and GB Glace; Lipton, Brooke Bond and PG Tips teas, Dove soaps and Q-Tips.
Treschow, originally from Helsingborg, southern Sweden, has previously been chief executive of Swedish companies Atlas Copco and Electrolux.