Open Letter by
Yasmine Motarjemi , Former Corporate Food Safety Manager (2000-2010), Assistant Vice President
Mr Peter Brabeck-Letmathe
Chairman of the Board of Directors
55 Avenue Nestlé
« Nyon, 4th Septembre 2010
Dear Mr Chairman,
I was your Corporate Food Safety Manager from 2000 to 2010. I write to you today for two reasons:
first, to share with you my concerns regarding a culture and management practices in Nestlé, which
undermine food safety; and, second, to inform you of my personal experiences while attempting to
improve the situation.
I long nourished the hope that you would be interested in meeting the person responsible for dealing
with everyday problems of the Company in an area as important as the safety of Nestlé products.
However, to my regret we have never had the opportunity to meet and discuss the food safety
situation in the Company. As both corporate-level management of food safety and my professional
status deteriorated to the point of being unacceptable, I was compelled to report my concerns to
Management with the expectation that a fair evaluation of the situation would be undertaken. In
the event, my efforts were in vain.
Mr Chairman, I always found listening to your speeches a source of motivation and inspiration.
Moreover, Nestlé Policies and Management Principles portray a model Company, with the most
laudable corporate values. A glance at the Company building, offices and facilities is enough to make
any outsider believe that this is an ideal working environment.
However, after only a short time, I was profoundly disappointed at how people are managed, the
discrepancies between your public statements and the private deeds of managers; between the
Company’s policies and management principles and actual practices; and between the proclaimed
values and the prevailing fear culture (including mobbing and intimidation) that managers nourished.
I was particularly saddened by the growing realisation that Management was not only aware of this
situation but that it was also fully accepted by the very people who should have been, in fact, the inhouse guardians of policy compliance.I failed to see the flawless execution of policy that you promoted in your speeches. Didn’t you state
that the management of food quality and safety depends on the quality of management? What can
be said about food safety management when the members of Management themselves do not
respect Company policies and principles?
If I dared challenge the Company’s food safety and human resource practices I can assure you that it
was not out of disrespect. On the contrary, it was because of my loyalty to the Company, my
colleagues and the consumers we served. It was also because for me the safety of our products and
respect for our colleagues were non-negotiable values. Involving staff in building a better company
unavoidably includes exposing shortcomings. But surely it is better to receive timely feedback from
within than to be publicly embarrassed later by failures.
You have often expressed your commitment to food safety. Please allow me to share with you my
own vision in this regard. Over and above the technical and scientific aspects, the foundation of
good food safety management is an equitable system of people management that is based on
professionalism, fairness, objectivity, open-mindedness, respect for staff and, most importantly, for
their dignity. I regret to say that I failed to see this approach implemented at the Nestlé Head Office.
My own situation is a case in point.
On several occasions I reported – first to members of Management and then, in November 2009, to
Mr Paul Bulcke – serious shortcomings in food safety management, the professional difficulties I
faced, and the shameful treatment that I experienced in Nestlé. I hoped that I would be given the
opportunity to provide a full and accurate account of events during the period 2005-2010. In
response, my contract was terminated with no opportunity to provide details of my experience.
Nevertheless, I am prepared to meet with you, at your convenience, to share my observations on
practices in Nestlé and their eventual repercussions on Nestlé’s reputation and consumers. I would
also hope to use this opportunity to identify an equitable solution for my personal difficult situation, another consequence of the past events in Nestlé »
source : http://www.rts.ch/info/3989665.html/BINARY/Mr+CEO.pdf
more here (in french) http://www.rts.ch/…/3988696-une-ex-responsable-de-la-securi…
more again (in french)
more (in german ) : http://www.handelszeitung.ch/untern…/nestle-im-keim-erstickt