Ben & Jerrys Case Study Essays

804 Words Oct 24th, 2012 4 Pages
Ben & Jerry's and Unilever: The Bohemian and the Behemoth

FACTS: Ben & Jerry’s success is a direct result of transitioning form a local Vermont-based ice-cream producer into a large multinational corporation as part of an acquisition initiated by Unilever. The company’s three interrelated mission statements stand to complement each other and through history and culture have successfully turned Ben & Jerry’s into a social behemoth.

Following a merger with the multinational juggernaut Unilever Ben & Jerry’s faces numerous challenges as it strives to sustain its image and culture in a much larger corporation. The uniqueness of Ben & Jerry’s ideology has been a major contributor to its success as its distinct
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HOLDING: Ben & Jerry’s has since the initiation of its business enacted a very family-like company environment which is rather untraditional. The lack of hierarchical pyramid has endorsed open communication within the organization and encouraged a consistent and loyal employee base. Ben & Jerry’s brand name and image is crucial to its existent customer-base and needs to be retained. However, considering its acquisition by Unilever, conventional law does give the larger multinational with majority ownership to enact and enforce policies it deems appropriate and suitable to its own mission statement and benefit.

Additionally, terms of contract between the two did however call for adherence to existing Ben & Jerry’s terms and policies and a verbal commitment of never to hire a CEO that the cofounder Cohen disapproved of. Additionally, as Cohen noted that this acquisition had more to do with “infusing those values in that larger business”. The real issue arises when after the departure of the new chief executive at Ben & Jerry’s, Yves Couette is named the new CEO owing to his 24 year old veteran status as a Unilever employee. This employment initiation raised conflict between the cofounders of Ben & Jerry’s suggesting that this change will not “guarantee that the social and environmental values of the ice-cream maker” be maintained at its current level.


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