Leadership in the Field: Interviews with Global Leaders
By Russell Reynolds Associates with Roger O. Crockett
Michael Treschow, Chairman of Unilever, discusses the board’s relationship with the C-suite, including CEO support, succession, diversity and driving a winning strategy.
For a glimpse of Treschow’s views on leadership, watch the video below.
Michael Treschow is Chairman of Unilever N.V. and PLC, a global powerhouse in consumer packaged goods. He was appointed Chairman in May 2007. He is a member of Unilever’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Compensation and Management Resources Committee. Prior to joining the Unilever board, Treschow was Chairman of telecom networking equipment maker Telefonaktiebolaget L M Ericsson, from 2002 to 2011. He was also chairman of the board of AB Electrolux from 2004 to 2007. Treschow became CEO of Electrolux in 1997, and before that he was president and CEO of Atlas Copco AB. A native of Sweden, Treschow was chairman of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise until joining Unilever.
CHAPTER 1: Supporting a new CEO through succession and transition
Roger Crockett: As Chairman of Ericsson previously and now with Unilever, you’ve overseen several CEO successions. So what is the role of the Chairman in that succession planning process?
Michael Treschow: I think the Chairman has to be the most active in it, but particularly if you look at the situation in the Anglo Saxon companies, like Unilever, the Nomination Committee, which is a committee of the board, has a key role to make sure that you specify the job and run the process.
If we take the example of Unilever, our Nomination Committee meets every time we have a board meeting, roughly five or six times a year. Among its key duties is surely to make sure we are on top of the succession planning. But also the full board is interested. So at least once a year we have a full session with the board on succession planning and talent management. (more…)