This affair was about practicalities, not principles. Unilever never made a good case for picking Rotterdam over London. The choice was made after 10 months of boardroom contemplation. Yes, Unilever has wasted a lot of time trying to force its shareholders to swallow a rotten plan. But the board ploughed on, provoking near-daily public rebukes in the past fortnight from investment firms. The company faced several problems.
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The first was the likely ejection of its shares from UK indices — notably the FTSE — if the corporate domicile switched to the Netherlands. Tracker funds feared becoming forced sellers and Unilever had no real counter to the point. Its argument, in effect, amounted to inviting such funds to think of the greater good of all shareholders. That was never going to fly: funds are not paid to vote against their own interests. That always looked a long shot, as it proved.
ERASMUS SPORT CAFÉ
The main boardroom failure, however, was the loose and breezy explanation for choosing Rotterdam. Attempting to deflect the charge that Unilever was fleeing from Brexit , Dekkers and Paul Polman, its chief executive, pointed out that two of the three operating divisions would still be in the UK and more employees would be in the UK than in Netherlands.
So why be inflexible to the expat? The new pricing model gets a fair price for the user and the gym. A foreign drivers license or passport will get that job done. Look at all the gyms in Amsterdam that are on board! Finding a gym when you travel is hard. At least it used to be.
- OneFit discount with ISIC - International Student Identity Card.
- Unilever board cannot wash its hands of Rotterdam HQ mistake.
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