In 2021, Danone’s board of directors, under pressure from activist Bluebell Capital and Artisan Partners, ousted the company’s CEO Emmanuel Faber — a longtime advocate of stakeholder capitalism. This decision puzzled many observers; in an age where the business community seems to be readily embracing stakeholder capitalism, Faber and Danone were stalwarts. Now Unilever — another stakeholder-centered consumer goods darling — is under similar strain from an even more well-equipped and seasoned activist investor, Nelson Peltz.
These predicaments companies are increasingly finding themselves in with activist investors are disrupting the stakeholder agenda and costing CEOs their jobs. But they should not surprise us.
Steadily rising societal expectations are pushing companies to put their stakeholders first, and shareholders second — but some shareholders are not having it. Companies that don’t comply with the stakeholder capitalism agenda are quickly…
This article was written by Mark DesJardine and originally published on hbr.org