Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Paul Bulcke for Nestle - too late the hero

"Nestle's CEO: I want Nestle to be respected!"
by the Equalizer.
Published in EQ PostSentinel, 21 February 2011. (Original and full article appears here).

"One of the targets I put when I defined our vision was to be trusted by all stakeholders. I don’t say ‘loved’, that’s stupid, but trusted. That’s a start.” Paul Bulcke, Nestle CEO

These days Nestlé, Switzerland’s biggest industrial company, has 283,000 employees and 456 factories worldwide, producing baby formula, breakfast cereals, coffee, chocolate, mineral water, pet foods, ready meals, dessert ingredients and more. In Britain its brands include Nescafé, Nespresso, Kit Kat, Quality Street, Perrier, San Pellegrino, Cheerios, Shreddies, Purina and Carnation. And right now, adds Bulcke proudly, Nestlé sells into every country in the world — including North Korea. From Times Online

That power can be a force for good, or not, depending on where you stand. In particular, the company has suffered continued criticism for its marketing of baby formula to Third World mothers as an alternative to breast-feeding.From Times Online

In the past, Nestlé has tended to ignore protesters. More recently it has been embroiled in a court case in Switzerland, accused of hiring Securitas, the security firm, to put spies into anti-Nestlé campaign groups.

Bulcke admits that Nestlé, respected for its research and marketing prowess, has not handled criticisms well, preferring to retreat into its own certainties — the Swiss approach. “I am not going to judge what has happened in the past, but I don’t like the results,” he says carefully.From Times Online

“Being Swiss means we do business with our own conviction and principles, and then we shut up, and sometimes that’s the problem.” Bulcke "

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