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Jan 30 (Reuters)

The FTSE 100 gained on Monday as investors awaited a slew of central bank decisions this week, with Unilever supporting the index after the consumer goods giant announced a new chief executive officer.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 (.FTSE) ticked 0.3% higher, while the midcap FTSE 250 (.FTMC) dropped 0.5%.

Unilever rose 1.3% after the company appointed Hein Schumacher, currently the chief of Dutch dairy business FrieslandCampina, to replace CEO Alan Jope from July 1.

“Unilever has been managing to navigate through the turbulence pretty adeptly, and the appointment of a new CEO has been greeted positively by the market, in expectation he will help steady the ship further,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown.

The personal care index (.FTNMX452010) gained 1.5%.

Investors have their eyes on the Bank of England, first of the major central banks to turn hawkish, which is expected to deliver its 10th rate hike since December 2021 on Thursday. Traders have priced in a 50 bps rate hike, followed by another 25 bps in March before the BoE pauses.

“How far might they dial back rate hikes and the hints they might drop about the future trajectory of their policy decisions are the two things which will be keeping investors up at night,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Limiting gains on the FTSE 100, life insurers (.FTNMX303010) dropped 1.6% as insurer Legal & General (LGEN.L) said Chief Executive Nigel Wilson was retiring after a decade in the top job but would remain in the post until a successor took the helm. The stock fell 1.8%.

888 Holdings (888.L) tumbled 27.5%, its biggest percentage loss since 2006, after the bookmaker said CEO Itai Pazner would step down immediately and it would suspend VIP activities in some markets pending an internal investigation. 888 did not give a reason for Pazner’s departure.

Ryanair (RYA.I) slipped 2.7% despite posting a record after-tax profit for its October-December quarter. The stock hit an 11-month high last week amid a recovery in stock markets.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Shinjini Ganguli and Alison Williams