Another day passes, another hostile investor buys Unilever shares in order to hold management accountable and shore up its performance and value.
And in response, CEO Alan Jope (pictured above) makes another desperate move to try to overcome his disastrous, ESG-obsessed reign, in which subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s has transformed the company’s identity into an anti-Semitic pariah.
Last week, investor Terry Smith bashed Jope over failed attempts to purchase personal care assets from GlaxoSmithKline. Now, influential investor Nelson Peltz has bought a stake in Unilever. Peltz has a reputation for turnarounds with consumer goods companies, most recently credited with helping improve Procter & Gamble’s bottom line.
Jope’s answer is to regroup Unilever’s products into “five, category-focused divisions,” according to the Wall Street Journal –— segregating its ice cream brands into their own sink-or-swim category. The restructuring will reportedly cost 1,500 managerial types their jobs, across all product lines.
“Each Business Group will be fully responsible and accountable for their strategy, growth, and profit delivery globally,” the company said.
From the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday:
…the restructuring—particularly separating ice cream as a stand-alone unit—should make it easier for Unilever to sell slower-growing businesses…
The company has indicated it plans to sell off some businesses as part of its effort to reorganize its portfolio… These divestitures are widely expected by analysts to include the company’s food brands, which have grown slowly…
Analysts have previously said they expect Mr. Peltz to push for Unilever to sell or spin off its food business. Now that that has been split into ice cream and nutrition—with the latter housing some higher-growth categories such as health snacking—RBC analyst James Edwardes Jones said he thinks the company could focus on selling off ice cream.
While Unilever also owns other ice cream brands – including Breyers, Good Humor, Klondike, and Magnum – the message is clear to Ben & Jerry’s independent, progressive board: Perform, or you may find yourselves sold off to, or under the authority of, a less-sympathetic overseer.
It’s not a stretch to think that Unilever is fed up with Ben & Jerry’s intransigence, with a $26 billion loss in value since the progressive ice cream peddler last summer announced its boycott of Israel’s “occupied territories.”
Learn more at National Legal and Policy Center’s StopBenAndJerrys.com Web site.