Unilever CEO Paul Polman keynotes at Indian conference


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On October 30th 2013, the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) hosted its first ever global CEO conference on 'Navigating a VUCA World' (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) at the Leela Hotel in Mumbai. The aim was to explore how tough economic times and changing societal dynamics make it necessary for companies to re-evaluate organizational processes and practices.

“We truly live in the VUCA world, where things have become more volatile and uncertain,” said Hemant Bakshi, Chairman, ISA, and Executive Director, Home & Personal Care, Hindustan Unilever. “That's one issue ISA needs to deal with and help companies understand the principles they need to follow in a changing uncertain world.” The conference therefore discussed how the current state of the economy is a growing concern for business drivers not just in India but around the world. It brought together leaders in the advertising industry to identify common concerns and obstacles, and collectively develop solutions to solve them.

Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, opened the conference by telling the audience that you can get an irresponsible company out of business in a matter of seconds now. He added, “Any system where too many people feel they're not participating will fail. If we don't change business models we'll become like dinosaurs and will fail to exist. A billion people go to bed hungry and still don't know if they'll wake up in the morning. Companies or individuals can't talk themselves out of things they behaved themselves into; the behaviour has to get themselves out of it. The vision needed is to eradicate poverty once and for all. Unilever wants to achieve that by giving more than we take.”

Other key speakers at the event included R Gopalakrishnan, Director, Tata Sons; Manu Anand, President - India & South Asia, Cadbury India; Marten Pieters, CEO, Vodafone India; and Ravi Kant, Vice Chairman and Former Managing Director, Tata Motors.

The day-long 'Navigating a VUCA World' conference was held in partnership with exchange4media, and saw senior management in marketing, media and creative agencies in attendance.

For more information, please visit the ISA website.

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