After Ben & Jerry’s was purchased by Unilever in 1999, cofounder Ben Cohen distanced himself from his former company. At one point a few years ago he was even openly critical of the company, saying Unilever had done little to foster the unique, altruistic corporate culture that had become as well-known as Chunky Monkey.
But things have changed, and Cohen now says he is pleased with the direction the company is taking under Walt Freese, who became CEO about a year ago.
“Walt Freese happens to agree with the original mission-believes in it personally, and also believes that it’s a critical component of the so-called brand of Ben & Jerry’s,” Cohen recently told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He’s actively looking for ways to integrate social concerns into how the company does business.”
Cohen backs three issues that Freese has gotten the company involved in: global warming, family farms and federal budget priorities.