Paul Polman – Many companies today continue to pursue profits without paying attention to conditions in their environment. As a result, the company only pursued profits without seeing the condition of the community.
Therefore, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said that the political and economic system had failed to help the community. According to him, capitalism needs to be reframed to work for the common good.
He said, too many companies prosper at the expense of society and nature. Therefore, now the company must learn to be successful while contributing to the community and supporting ecosystems and biodiversity.
According to him, to succeed does not always have to sacrifice others. He considered the attitude of winning itself would not bring the company to achieve its goals.
Paul Polman is a Dutch businessman. After a long-term work with Procter & Gamble, he joined the Nestlé board in 2006. Since 2009, he has been the chief executive officer (CEO) of the British-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever. Polman has received several awards for business leadership that prioritizes sustainable development.
Polman was born and raised in Enschede City, the Netherlands, in a Catholic family with three brothers and two sisters. His father is a tire company executive and while his mother is a former instructor at a school. Polman also hopes to become a doctor, unfortunately, the medical school at that time was determined by lottery and he failed to be elected.
He also chose to enter the University of Groningen and took a BBA / BA degree in 1977. After that, he continued his studies at the University of Cincinnati to take an MA in Economics and an MBA in International Finance and Marketing in 1979.
Graduating from Cincinnati, Polman worked for Procter & Gamble for 27 years, with his early career as a cost analyst. He later became Managing Director of British P & G from 1995 to 1998, then became president of the global retail division from 1998 to 2001 and the same division president in 2001.
Polman later joined Nestlé in 2006 as the chief financial officer and American deputy head. Only on January 1, 2009, Polman replaced Patrick Cescau as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unilever.
Under Polman’s leadership, Unilever is targeting double-growth growth while improving their role in the social field through sustainable development. Polman believes that currently, world resources are starting to be limited, therefore businesses that prioritize sustainable development are essential for long-term growth in emerging markets and this also reduces risk and reduces costs.
However, Unilever shareholders are concerned that Polman is more focused on corporate social responsibility, rather than Unilever’s financial performance after the company lost sales targets for six of eight quarters in 2013 and 2014. Polman also revised its short-term company targets, because the company failed to meet targets due to erratic currency fluctuations and a slowdown in emerging markets since 2013.
Polman also continues to carry out the company’s sustainable plan, which includes all brands and 180 countries where Unilever operates, as well as the total supply chain, including the impact of its customers. Unlike many other companies that concentrate on their environmental footprint, Unilever also plans to combine two other sustainability pillars, social and economic.