NB Quick Takes: Polman’s Out at Unilever – Let the Legacy Debate Begin!
You’ve probably heard by now, but in case you didn’t, Paul Polman is retiring as CEO of Unilever at the end of the year. Perhaps no other executive has been as closely associated with corporate social responsibility as Polman. Indeed, Polman pushed his company, not to mention multinational business culture writ large, into some, shall we say, unfamiliar territory.
More than any CEO we can think of, Polman put issues such as fighting climate change, improving the lives of workers and embedding social impact at the forefront of his agenda. That’s not to say all of those initiatives were successful, nor were they without detractors. No doubt there will be lots of discussion about Polman’s approach and its effectiveness at Unilever, not to mention its influence across the business world. In the meantime, the news of his departure is generating quite a response.
We’re gathering some memorable Twitter reactions below. Do you have an opinion on Polman’s legacy and impact? We’d would love to hear from you in our comments section, or through a blog contribution to our site. Get in touch with us at email@example.com.
Paul, Thank you for everything you have done and have stood for over the past decade. You have truly been a transformational figure in the evolution of capitalism. I am sure you will continue to make and important contribution on a global scale.
— Raj Sisodia (@RajSisodiaCC) November 30, 2018
Pragmatic @PaulPolman suggests how to solve the problem of short-termisme:
Get the 8 wealthiest ppl & pension funds in the room and change the way they invest.
Leverage impact via the 25 biggest asset owners on the planet. Change the world without legislation!#GPDF18 pic.twitter.com/SGkTuGK3WH
— Alex Osterwalder🇨🇭 (@AlexOsterwalder) November 30, 2018
.@paulpolman is a nice guy, but this is the opposite of how to change the world. Listen to what he says, then do the opposite.
The world isn’t changed by rich people and asset managers and through avoiding legislation. It is changed from below through movements, policy, and law. https://t.co/4PMtzdEQxi
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) November 30, 2018
We in the sustainability movement will all miss you Paul. You’ve been quite the beacon in a pretty dark field in the business community. Unilever is the company they’re all chasing now.
— (((Andrew Winston))) (@AndrewWinston) November 30, 2018
Unilever’s CEO , @PaulPolman decided to step down after 10 glorious years. What a legacy ! One of the most important chapters has been the transformation on Diversity & Inclusion that he led with unblinking commitment. Today we have 47,5 % of women in our management ! pic.twitter.com/bKCuugqH8r
— Aline Santos (@alinecsantos) November 29, 2018
“The main question is:
Do we care?
As long as our personal greed is more important than the future of our children, we’re in deep shit”
— Celine Schillinger (@CelineSchill) November 30, 2018
Exclusive live picture of Paul Polman’s retirement from Unilever pic.twitter.com/Inpzrh3FBG
— Ben Wright (@_BenWright_) November 29, 2018
Photo credit: Stars Foundation, via Flickr.