Als er 1 Paul ....

In een mooi interview met FT geeft de CEO van Unilever (de Nederlander Paul Polman) zijn beeld over ‘aandeelhouders’. De Nederlandse Herb Kelleher aan het woord:

But Mr Polman makes it clear that shareholders are not exactly the first thing on his mind. “I do not work for the shareholder, to be honest; I work for the consumer, the customer,” he says. “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.”

To prove he was serious Mr Polman early on stopped offering earnings guidance to the stock market. Not everyone was pleased. Some investors wondered if the move hinted at a lack of confidence. At the time, one told the Financial Times: “As an investor, you need certainty
...Are they warning they may not be able to hit previously set targets?”

Mr Polman is unrepentant. “I needed to create an environment where we were not chasing 20 targets for the short term, but [where] we were able to do the right thing for the long term,” he explains.

“The share price went down 6 per cent,” he adds nonchalantly. “A lot of that actually was hedge funds moving out. I don’t think they were the long-term investors anyway.”

Als er 1 Paul over de dam is volgen er mee, denk ik dan maar.

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