After a turbulent youth in post-war Holland, Hans Eenhoorn joined the Royal Dutch Marine Corps. He received his officer's commission (lieutenant) in 1962 and served in The Netherlands and the Dutch Antilles. From 1963 to 1969 he studied macroeconomics, business administration and psychology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. In 1969 he joined Unilever where he worked for 32 years until his retirement in 2001.
Hans began his career in food marketing and sales, and held senior marketing positions in the Netherlands, Brazil and Colombia. He was later promoted to company chairman and national manager in Latin America and Central Europe. Eventually, he moved from local to international general management and worked as Senior Vice President of Foods in the Unilever headquarters in Rotterdam, mainly involved in global strategy development and implementation. During this period he also chaired the Unilever Nutrition Committee and was a member of the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Steering group. At the age of 60, he formally retired but was contracted to chair a committee to develop Unilever's Environmental Sustainability Strategy.