Sunday, October 2nd, 2022 15:02:11

World’s Oldest Multinational

Updated: May 24, 2014 1:55 pm



MULTINATIONALS are big business, and big business is by definition required to remain big. So what does a big business need to do when it is in dire danger of a shrinking customer base and faces the perilous prospect of sinking fortunes? Then it needs to get a “turnaround CEO”.

That is what business schools teach. That is what, for instance, IBM and Apple did. And that is what, according to a reputed western economic journal, seems to have happened with “the world’s oldest multinational” by name “RC Global” when a man by name Jorge Bergeglio was “appointed CEO”.

To repeat the report of this economic journal, this multinational company RC Global “was in crisis….Competitors were stealing market share in the emerging world. In its traditional markets, scandals were scaring off customers and demoralising the salesforce. Recruitment was difficult, despite the offer of lifetime employment in a tough economy. The firm’s finances were also a mess. Leaked documents revealed” this MNC’s own bank “as a vortex of corruption and incompetence. The Board was divided and weak”. The previous CEO “was the first person to resign” in the company’s centuries-old history “amid dark rumours that the founder and chairman, a rarely seen elderly bearded figure whose portrait adorned the….boardroom, had intervened”. In short, the company’s thriving business was down in the dumps.

Then hey, presto! “In just a year, the business has recovered a lot….Footfall in RC Global’s retail outlets is rising again.” How has the new CEO “succeeded in galvanising one of the world’s stodgiest outfits?” asked the economic journal. Its own answer : “Essentially by grasping three management principles.” The first was a clever adoption of a “poor-first strategy”. That is, if the said company was to cater to the poor customer, the CEO must act poor. So what did CEO Jorge Bergoglio do? He not only gave up the palatial apartment—to which his grade entitled him—for a boarding house, he also discarded the big boss’s velvet cape and even swapped ceremonial red shoes for plain black ones. To cap it all, he “ignored his fully loaded Mercedes in favour of a battered Ford”….”Along with the new strategic focus” he is espousing two management tools….One is brand repositioning….The other is restructuring”,….for which he has “brought in Mckinsey” and other experts “to look at the (company’s) administrative machinery….” As a result, to repeat the economic journal’s economic conclusion, “footfall in RC Global’s retail outlets is rising again.”

Okay, okay, all this is fine, but what’s so special about this MNC called RC Global and its CEO Jorge something that this economic journal is telling and Satiricus re-telling in such corporate details? Well, to reveal the “trade” secret, the company’s name “RC Global” stands for Roman Catholic Global Church, CEO Jorge Bergoglio is the new Pope Francis, and this business reportage is by The Economist, published in England, which PM Cameron recently publicly declared is a Christian country.

And now that the Christian cat is out of the business bag, this pagan pen-pusher can decode the other code-words : The “world’s oldest multinational” means the Christian Church, the “market share” means the world’s non-Christian people to whom the commodity called Christianity is to be sold, “difficult recruitment” means the shrinking number of westerners willing to become clergymen, ‘scary scandals’ mean massive child sex abuse by priests for years, the “bearded founder in the portrait” means Jesus, and “increasing footfall in RC Global’s retail outlets” means Gandhiji’s “Vendors of Christianity” are back in business selling their religion—and in India cheating the gullible customer by selling the Christian commodity in Hindu-looking packaging. Halleluja! For once, Gospel truth is telling the truth.

Measure For French Culture!

LIKE all people everywhere, Satiricus thinks it is bad to have bad manners. But how bad is bad? He wouldn’t know. For him good manners are a value of life. But now he learns that the opposite is also true—that bad manners have a price. For the other day Satiricus read in the papers that a café in a French city charges extra for bad manners. If a customer orders a coffee with a “please”, he is charged the equivalent of Rs. 350, but if there is no “please” in the order, the price goes up to Rs. 580. On the other hand, if the order politely adds Bonjour (‘good day’) the price drastically come down to just 120 rupees. It seems French culture is as liquid as French coffee and can be consumed by the litre. But if French coffee is the liquid measure of French culture, what would be the solid cultural measure for French fries?

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