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Jeffrey Hollender

Seventh Generation’s Founder Jeffrey Hollender Fired by Board of Directors

The stickiest challenge in being a responsible business is the relationship with investors. Hands down. In publicly held companies it is easier to see what is happening because it has to be made transparent to the public. But in privately held companies, there are far fewer requirements. I am a shareholder in Seventh Generation who was informed of the decision to fire Jeffrey Hollender along with most other shareholders, after the fact. There are many questions, but the biggest one for me is regard to The Responsible Business is—Transparency.

I invested in Seventh Generation (SVG) for a couple of reasons. First, I always invest in companies I consult with. Since my relationship is always over multiple years, and my intention is to affect positively the value of the company by working responsible, I believe I should take risk along with the other investors. And I have always benefitted from that choice. I wanted to be a Seventh Generation shareholder from the beginning.

Second, SVG was founded and run from the beginning as a responsible company with a core value of transparency. And it has lived up to that transparency in everything it has done, even in down times and tough situations. I have great respect for such aims and it is a great to have full disclosure on what is going on in a company where you chose to invest.

I worked closely with Jeffrey Hollender for almost five years in the company moving from a small brand to more than doubling its value over less than three years. I have so respect for him and what he stands for. He is a visionary and will do well where every he goes. I have many stories of this transformation in my new book, which will be release in February. And it is a great and responsible story.

However, at the moment, I am without the complete story of what happened in the last couple of weeks, but I hope that the Board of Directors will live up to the value of transparency and tell us all how this decision was made and create the best example of a responsible Transition plan. I hope they will act as The Responsible Business would do, setting the standard for responsibility as laid out by investors.

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7 Responses to Seventh Generation’s Founder Jeffrey Hollender Fired by Board of Directors

  1. Lynn Miller November 15, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    Carol,

    I very much appreciated your post – I think it was one of the best written about this situation. If you read my post (link above), you will see that my views mirror yours.

    I go a step further and say private companies should follow the same disclosure rules as public – especially when a central part of the brand ethos is transparency.

    I am saddened by how this situation was handled. It caused a lot of unnecessary damage to the brand.

    Seventh Gen should have followed Jeffrey’s lead and posted something as soon as he did.

    • Carol Sanford November 15, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

      Hi Lynn,
      Thanks for your reflections and summarizing piece. I did read it when I saw the ping back. Great piece of work. The concerns remaining are: the value of the company to its owners which including all the employees, the value of the Brand which all its customers and consumers count on; and its workers and suppliers who work deeply to ensure it lives up to its values. My preference would have been a join announcement from a healthy process coming from an aligned sense of closure. The Board and leadership have some significant repair work to do. Jeffrey will be fine, he is very resilient and was already moving on to new endeavors for the last two years. I worked with them for almost five years (parts of that story in Jeffrey’s book—The Responsibility Revolution) and in his piece on the transition in Harvard Business Review, posted on my website). I have a lot of the story in my new book that will be out March 1st from Jossey Bass. But this event has changed all those stories. There were errors made that must be repaired. There are many people working inside and outside to help it recovery. Stay tuned.

  2. Lavinia Weissman November 16, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Carol and Lynn, there is now indeed a lot to repair.

    I wonder if the Board has the courage to invite some of us to a summit to facilitate and contribute to that dialogue?

    There are so many issues to speak to. I just added another post on the aspects related to safe chemical practices.

    bit.ly/b2P0KI

    Lavinia

    Lavinia

    • Carol Sanford November 16, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

      I spend an hour with the Board today on the phone. Lots is moving.

  3. Lavinia Weissman November 16, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    Carol, I know you can speak to specifics and there are many eyes watching and listening. This could be an opportunity for one of the largest stakeholder gatherings every modeled to begin the repair.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Seventh Generation & Jeffrey Hollender: A Case Study in Online Crisis Communications | 4 Green Ps - November 14, 2010

    […] Generation Mum on CEO, Sets Five Year Goals,” EIN Press Wire, November 4, 2010 18.”Seventh Generation’s Founder Jeffrey Hollender Fired by Board of Directors,”  CarolSanford.com, November 4, […]

  2. Seventh Generation & Jeffrey Hollender: A Case Study in Online Crisis Communications – Ecopreneurist - November 15, 2010

    […] “Seventh Generation Mum on CEO, Sets Five Year Goals,” EIN Press Wire, November 4, 2010 18.”Seventh Generation’s Founder Jeffrey Hollender Fired by Board of Directors,”  CarolSanford.com, November 4, […]

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