Nestlé is facing a challenge from activist investors. We look to engage with the companies we invest in and look to build strong relationships with their managements over time. We will also stand up for what we think is right and necessary as we have in the case of Sika, the Swiss material technology company whose independence we successfully defended against a hostile takeover. However, we often disagree with short-term activism looking for quick share price gains.
In the case of Nestlé and Third Point, we believe that the long-term initiatives put in place by Nestlé’s new CEO Mark Schneider are right and will help the company to generate innovation, growth and value for shareholders as it has in the past. Making our views public is part of our engagement and we spoke to Reuters about this at the start of July.
Growing up in Germany, Mark Schneider was pushed to become fluent in English by his father, who believed it would give him an edge.
Now as Nestle’s relatively new chief executive, the 52-year-old’s abilities are being put to the test by an activist U.S. investor pressing him to act faster and more forcefully to raise the Swiss company’s profit.