Unilver boss Paul Polman, who is stepping down in 2018 ©PA Archive/PA Images
Unilver boss Paul Polman, who is stepping down in 2018 ©PA Archive/PA Images

How to leave a legacy like Paul Polman

Whether you see him as a do-gooder or a CSR pioneer, the departing Unilever boss has moved corporate sustainability to the top of the global business agenda

Anyone wishing to leave a legacy like Paul Polman would do well to start by re-evaluating the purpose of capitalism.

The CEO of Unilever, who is stepping down this year, took a brave stance after taking the top job at the world’s fourth largest consumer goods firm (by sales) when he declared it was possible to foster growth and be ethical at the same time. Polman said he would be doing this by putting the consumer first.

“Too many companies are running their business into the ground, I would argue, by being myopically short-term focused on the shareholder,” he told Bloomberg. “We’re going back to what it should be.”

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