Ben & Jerry’s won the right to its own autonomous board of directors, free of Unilever’s control.
Edmondson makes a strong case for this mission, saying that despite their new riches, Ben and Jerry stayed true to their cause. He also says that Unilever, among a growing number of corporations around the world, has itself taken on the social mission that its target long espoused: “linked prosperity,” which requires the company to share its good fortune with workers, its community, and the environment.
The takeover chapters in Ice Cream Social do justice to a fascinating episode in business history, although the rest of the book often goes off track and the story line is obscured by an avalanche of mission statements, bullet points, and extended quotes. But even when there are too many chunks in the mix, the book still gets across the full-flavored ebullience of Ben Cohen, Jerry Greenfield, and the company the two created.
- John Weir Close is the editor-in-chief of the M&A Journal and author of A Giant Cow-Tipping by Savages: The Boom, Bust, and Boom Culture of M&A (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). He previously served as editor-in-chief of Corporate Counsel magazine and as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.