Consumer Goods Industry Discuss How to Adapt to the Current Economic and Social Waves of Change
BERLIN, Thursday 22nd June 2017 – The first day of The Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Summit drew to a close yesterday. Taking place in Berlin, the Summit has brought together over 1,000 consumer goods industry leaders from around the world to discuss the future of their industry and how to adapt to an everchanging consumer landscape.
The summit was opened by German Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble who discussed the issue of the future of Europe in light of recent economic, social and political challenges. Mr. Schäuble remained adamant that unity and strength lied ahead for the continent and called upon governments to increase the competitiveness of their nations. Next, Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times gave an in-depth analysis of the rise of populism in modern day western societies and what implications this has for both the governments and businesses.
Denise Morrison, CEO of the Campbell Soup Company and former Board Co-Chair of The Consumer Goods Forum, followed with her opening address to all delegates. Mrs. Morrison stressed the importance for all companies to adapt and lead change rather than become its victim, highlighting for example the concept of ‘limitless local’: farming and food production modules which supported narratives around community and place. She also announced the two new CGF Board Co-Chairs, Ian Cook, CEO, Colgate-Palmolive and Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board METRO GROUP, before thanking the CGF and praising the landmark contributions of two executives now stepping back from their CEO roles, Muhtar Kent of The Coca-Cola Company and Paul Bulcke of Nestlé.
The next session was presented by Lionel Souque, CEO of the REWE Group, deep diving into the German retail scene, what challenges REWE Group and others are facing and how REWE Group is adapted to face them. Following Mr. Souque came another German industry leader, Simone Bagel-Trah from Henkel AG & co. Mrs. Bagel-Trah highlighted how essential innovation is to companies wishing to maintain relevance to today’s world and the important role that diversity has in developing this innovation, at Henkel for example more than a third of leadership positions are currently filled by women.
The day was brought to a close by Olaf Koch, the new Co-Chair of The Consumer Goods Forum Retailer College. Mr. Koch discussed METRO’S restructuring and turnaround strategy, integrating consumer engagement as central to all their business units given that the company has more than one billion end user consumer touchpoints each year.
Day 1 of The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit proved to be packed with captivating speakers discussing an array of global changes and how to adapt to these challenges with local examples. Day 2 of the conference is sure to be of the same high calibre.
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The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.
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