Dr Marijn Dekkers, the newly appointed Chairman of Unilever, recently gave an interview for Odgers Berndtson, discussing his new role and some of the wider challenges facing Unilever.
With respect to the challenges that Unilever, one of the world’s most prestigious businesses, faces, Dekkers cited: innovation, providing meaningfulness and keeping up with trends. He emphasised the need for Unilever to continue to innovate in order to be meaningful to its customers. With such a far reaching range of products, Unilever has a significant influence on making people’s lives better – meaning it must continue to do so by keeping up with industry trends such as digitisation.
Dekkers went on to discuss the influence of Brexit and the new US President, Donald Trump. With both elections surprising much of the world, Dekkers addressed the role that businesses’ focus on globalisation may have had – with companies investing in global expansion in order to please shareholders, governments and businesses alike have neglected to realise that with manufacturing for example moving abroad, globalisation may not have been a positive for everyone.
Unilever is known for its emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility, and notably the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which Dekkers says is something that he admires about the company. Plans such as this draw attention to the fact that companies can develop tunnel vision with respect to shareholder value, where in fact other stakeholders should be considered also.
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