Ben & Jerry's new CEO wants to 'double social impact'

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Ben & Jerry's new CEO wants to 'double social impact'

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 1:39pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine He even looks the part. Waterbury-based Ben & Jerry's - the progressive ice cream maker known for its chunk-and-swirl-laden flavors, irreverent sense of humor, sometimes iffy puns and work as an aspiring social justice company - has named Matthew McCarthy its new Chief Executive Officer. McCarthy, a 21-year veteran at Ben & Jerry's parent company, Unilever, took over July 1, 2018.

The new CEO has wasted no time challenging the business to "double its social impact," attesting it will also lead to continued performance in the marketplace and meeting Ben & Jerry's triple bottom line focus on producing the world's best ice cream, earning a fair profit, and giving back to the community. 

"We are delighted to welcome Matthew, who brings a wealth of commercial experience, along with rock-solid values and a courageous vision for the role businesses can and should play in the world," said Ben & Jerry's Board of Directors Chairperson, Anuradha Mittal. "We look forward to working with him and to continuing our mission as a social justice company which just happens to make pretty good ice cream," Mittal added.

Ben & Jerry's new Chief Executive Officer, Matthew McCarthy

The veteran marketing executive is not new to values-led business. At Unilever he has increased the social impact of a number of the company's leading brands, including Hellmann's, which has led the industry in using certified cage-free eggs in its mayonnaise. The project was executed three years ahead of plan and earned McCarthy and his team a Corporate Progress Award from the Humane Society of the US. The executive also committed Unilever's Knorr brand to higher welfare standards for its chickens, in collaboration with the Global Animal Partnership and Compassion in World Farming NGOs.

Most recently, McCarthy and his team created Growing Roots, Unilever's first organic snacking brand with a mission to support urban farming in underserved communities. McCarthy also founded the Men's Working Group for Gender Equality at Unilever.

McCarthy earned his bachelor's degree in politics and French from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his MBA in marketing from the Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University.

He replaces Jostein Solheim, a 25-plus year Unilever veteran who helmed the business for eight years. Solheim helped build and solidify the working relationship between Ben & Jerry's and Unilever, while growing the business and its social impact. Solheim was promoted to Executive VP of Foods and Refreshments at Unilever in Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

About Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry's believes in a greater calling than simply making a profit for selling its goods. The company produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream, light ice cream, yogurt and sorbet using high-quality ingredients. Ben & Jerry's incorporates its vision of Linked Prosperity into its business practices in a number of ways including a focus on values-led sourcing. In 2015 the company completed its transition to using entirely non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients by source as well as to fully source Fairtrade-certified ingredients wherever possible, which benefits farmers in developing countries. Ben and Jerry's products are distributed in 35 countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchise Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues. Ben & Jerry's, a Vermont corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. Ben & Jerry's became a certified B Corp (Benefit Corporation) in 2012. The Ben & Jerry's Foundation's employee-led grant programs totaled $2.7MM in 2017 to support grassroots organizing for social and environmental justice around the country.

SOURCE BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Ben & Jerry's