This column, I have decided, is my application to be CEO of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream corporation. First, my political credentials: I spent seven years as editor of “Greenpeace Magazine.” For retail experience, I have to dig a little deeper, but I did spend a summer flipping chesseburgers at Yellowstone Park. It was a growth experience.
As part of my application, I propose a restructuring of the company to ocunter the unchecked growth it has exhibited over the last decade. Growth for the growth;‘s sake, after all, is the ideology of a cancer cell, not a way to build a successfull sustainable business. If Ben and Jerry’s wants to be a “truly” green company, it has to get small. In year one, I would break up the company along fundamental flavor lines, rather like the Baby Bells that emerged from the restructuiring of America’s phone company. Vanilla, chocolate, nuts and berries each would become its own company, then each would buy back its stock and go private. What better way to curtail growth than to get off the big board and lose those investors who care about nothing but the dividend check?