Nestlé CEO’s Philippine visit may help resolve distributor woes
Published 18 June 2011 in Metrofile, The Daily Tribune
(Original article available online here)
"The visit to the Philippines of Nestlé global CEO Paul Bulcke could help resolve the controversy concerning the alleged anti-trust practices being committed by Nestle Philippines Inc. (NPI) against its local Filipino distributors. Bulcke is arriving in Manila today, June 16, to take part in NPI’s ongoing centennial celebration which is being observed, with the theme “Kasambuhay, Habambuhay (Companion in Life, for Life)”. NPI’s Filipino distributors are hoping that Bulcke’s Manila sojourn could provide the spark for the resolution of the continuing disputes between the two sides that have led to the filing of charges in court against the Swiss-based multinational.
Bulcke, a Belgian businessman appointed global CEO in 2007, has described Nestlé under his tenure as ‘une force tranquille’ which translates to “calm strength.” In this regard, anti-trust lobbyist and lawyer Lorna Kapunan expressed hopes that this tranquility covers not only the running of the head office in Switzerland, but its operations in the Philippines as well. Kapunan is the legal counsel of two of the local distributors that have filed complaints against NPI in the local courts and in the Department of Trade and Industry.
“Seeing as how disorganized NPI has responded to the cases we have filed against them, one can only hope that Bulcke’s presence will not only resolve the concerns raised by my clients, but will also realign the company to the head office’s standards on fair trade and competition,” Kapunan said. “After all, being the top executive of Nestlé, Mr. Bulcke should know their Code of Business Conduct by heart. Specifically, he should examine whether the Nestlé Philippines complies with Section 7 of this Code, which clearly states that commercial policy and prices will be set independently and will never be agreed, formally or informally, with competitors or other non-related parties, whether directly or indirectly.”
On the other hand, NPI Chairman and CEO John Miller stated that the company’s ongoing celebrations are meant to affirm the Filipino’s love for family, in that “Nestlé products have become very much a part of the Filipino families’ way of life.” NPI ranks among the top 3 subsidiaries in the region comprising of Asia, Oceania, and Africa, and is ranked number one among the Asean countries. "