Nestlé SA Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe said Thursday that the company’s CEO Paul Bulcke is one of the candidates to succeed him when he retires next year.
“Yes, he’s one of the candidates that we have,” Mr. Brabeck–Letmathe said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of Nestlé’s 150th anniversary celebration. He said that the company is in a “privileged position” to have several candidates for the post as chairman of the consumer giant.
In a separate interview on Thursday, Mr. Bulcke declined to say whether he was going to succeed Mr. Brabeck–Letmathe or was interested in the job. “No answer,” he said.
In the interviews, Nestlé’s top executives brushed aside concerns among investors that the company’s prospects have weakened amid slower growth in key markets and a challenging pricing environment.
The company has missed its sales objective of organic growth of 5% to 6%—dubbed the “Nestlé Model”—for three years running. Mr. Bulcke said the company is sticking with the growth “ambition.”
“I think we’re still best in class,” he said. “There are certain challenges. We’re not alone to have them.”
Mr. Bulcke said that a recent Nestlé conference with investors helped the company ease some of the concerns that had come up in recent months.
“There was a little bit of ‘OK Nestlé, you’re failing,’” he said. “I didn’t see that, but then you get into a spiral somewhere of negativism. Somewhere the investor seminar was able to say ‘let’s show what we actually do.’ Let’s de-emotionalize the discussion.”
By Brian Blackstone
Source: Wall Street Journal
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