(Reuters) – Nestle could leave Switzerland if limits on pay and immigration restrict its staffing choices but continues to invest in the country, chief executive Paul Bulcke said in an interview published on Saturday.
He also told newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung the world’s largest packaged food company would not revise its growth targets despite a tough market environment and said he would not automatically step up to chairman when the seat becomes vacant.
Bulcke cited referendum votes last year and in 2013 to set immigration quotas and limit executive pay as threats to the business environment in Switzerland, but said the failure of similar initiatives since suggested that “wisdom is returning”.
“Should it become difficult to bring specialists into the country, then we will have to go somewhere, where this flexibility still exists,” Bulcke said in the interview.
He said Nestle would not revise its medium to long-term growth targets down from the current 5–6 percent target range.
“Within a weak economic environment, at 5 percent, we’ve grown better than the market,” Bulcke said.
“If we were to revise the goal downward, then (our performance) would certainly also move down … The important thing is that we grow faster than the others and outperform them through our strong innovation. That’s what we strive for.”
Asked if he would succeed his predecessor as CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe when the 71-year-old retires as Nestle chairman in 2017, Bulcke said: “Nothing is automatic.”
“It’s an advantage for someone who knows the company to take over leadership. But that’s not enough,” the Belgian native told NZZ, referring to the chairmanship and CEO positions.
“We’re open and have repeatedly recruited from outside the company in recent times.”
(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Catherine Evans)
The drive toward more sustainable food systems requires a multisolution approach that harnesses the power of new technologies like AI to uncover new opportunities, says Florian Schattenmann, Cargill’s CTO and VP of R&D and Innovation.
Outgoing Symrise chief executive Heinz-Jürgen Bertram is retiring after 21 years with the company, handing over the CEO role to Jean-Yves Parisot. Parisot, who will officially step into the new role on 31 March, joined Symrise in 2014 and has been a member of the executive committee since 2016.
The report states that Danone is looking to sell its Russian business to Vamin Tatarstan, a Russian dairy company owned by businessman Mintimer Mingazov. The news comes seven months after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the seizure of the French company’s local operations.