Monday, 1 February 2010

Cadbury and the Chicago School

Naomi Klein would be proud.

This morning, here in Birmingham, as we countdown the final twenty-four hours before we find out if the Cadbury shareholders are going to sell their business to Kraft, the local news gave us some calming advice about the takeover from Chicago Booth Business School Professor, Sanjay Dhar.

Dhar told us that everything would be ok under Kraft, and that nothing would really change. Anything that did change, he told us, would probably have changed under Cadbury ownership anyway, as it would be driven by market forces. Kraft ownership, the message was clear, would be a good thing for Cadbury.

Dhar, a professor of marketing at Booth (a central component of Milton Friedman’s infamous “Chicago School”) is currently head of the Kilts Center for Marketing. The Center is named after, and overseen by, James Kilts who, between 1994 and 1997, as Executive Vice President at Philip Morris was “responsible for integrating Kraft and General Foods worldwide and for shaping the group’s domestic and international strategy and plans”. Kilts also previously served as President of Kraft USA (where he consolidated Kraft and Oscar Meyer into one company), President of Kraft Limited in Canada, and Senior Vice President of Kraft International. He was also Senior Vice President of strategy and development at Kraft.

This year, in the Fall 2009 season at Kilts, under Sanjay Dhar’s headship, Mike Hsu, President of Kraft North America Grocery, has joined the Kilts Steering Committee.

For some reason the BBC News failed to point all this out, and simply referred to him as a business “expert”.

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