An interesting FT interview with the low-profile Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, almost got lost over the Easter weekend. It was conducted by Stefan Stern, an MT Contributing Editor. In it, Polman took issue with the City and its idea of what constitutes 'shareholder value'. (He was echoing some sentiments expressed recently by Richard Lambert, director general of the CBI, who is having a rather good time of it at the moment).
'I do not work for the shareholder, to be honest; I work for the consumer, the customer,' said Polman. 'I discovered a long time ago that if I focus on doing the right thing for the long term to improve the lives of consumers and customers all over the world, the business results will come... I'm not driven and I don't drive this business model by driving shareholder value. I drive this business model by focusing on the consumer and customer in a responsible way, and I know that shareholder value can come'.
Doing the right thing for the long term is a tricky business... [CONTINUED]
In today's bulletin:
Brown hammers business leaders as Government forced into concessions
Daimler thinks small with big Renault/ Nissan tie-up
Bye-bye Bebo? AOL gives up on $850m mistake
Editor's blog: Unilever boss says leaders must take the long view
Will our mobile phone networks run out of airwaves?