We were celebrating our client’s triumph in the most hostile takeover in Australian corporate history when its Chief Executive sobered the mood with a warning that has stayed with me ever since. It is a massive ‘watch out’ for businesses and ourselves. Do you suffer from this fatal flaw?
When client Campbell Soup Company launched a takeover bid for Australian biscuit maker Arnotts in 1991, the newspaper headline screamed : ”US Cookie Monster Wants To Gobble Our Arnotts.” So began a hugely emotive and aggressively fought takeover war, which ended with Campbell’s gaining control at the last gasp against all expectations.
The celebration cocktail party was in full swing a few weeks later, all the advisors and client executives in fine form, when Campbell CEO David Johnson (coincidentally- an Australian), gave us this chilling warning during his speech. “Enjoy the moment, “he said, “but be very careful. Because, remember this…..”