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...How long before European business is caught up in a sexual harassment scandal? The allegations levelled against Harvey Weinstein mark a turning point. People feel much freer to speak out about sexual misconduct, and those in power are actually listening. The breadth of the complaints suggests it’s only a matter of time before a chief executive officer (CEO) of a listed company, a middle-manager or a shop-floor supervisor get caught out. That should be a wake-up call for all boards of directors. The costs of getting engulfed in a scandal are high. Just look at what happened to Sports Direct International Plc when the Guardian newspaper alleged that it paid warehouse staff less than the minimum wage. A parliamentary probe of working conditions revealed abusive practices, including allegations of sexual harassment. The fallout amounted to a serious financial hit. Customers stayed away, sales slumped and the share price fell. ...Live Mint on Nov. 3, 2017, 1:28 p.m.
...Reuters London: Unilever has had a wake-up call from Warren Buffett and Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann. That isn’t a pleasant place to be. The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant may have seen off their $143 billion effort to buy the maker of Magnum ice-cream and add slot it into their Kraft Heinz Co. operation. But Unilever and chief executive officer (CEO) Paul Polman are still on notice. Buffett and Lemann’s 3G Capital both saw there was fat to cut at Unilever. Now Polman has to do the job himself. He must work on the assumption Kraft Heinz will want to come back. Under UK takeover rules, Kraft Heinz is now precluded from making a bid for six months—unless Unilever agrees, or another bidder buts the company in play. That time will pass quickly. Kraft Heinz had already raised the bar on profitability in the consumer industry: its operating margins put those of Unilever in the shade. ...Live Mint on Feb. 20, 2017, 9:19 a.m.