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KORN FERRY BRIEFINGS INTERVIEW

01 May 2012

Our Golden Rule is to treat everyone with respect, fairness, justice, trust and caring. We value the person more than anything else... it’s universal—it sits very well in all cultures

The Briefings Interview
Patience, Persistence and Treating Associates Like Family.
The best thing since...
Chairman Chief Executive of Grupo Bimbo

Mexico City, September 2, 2015 HOW CAN MEXICO; THIS NATION—ITS BUSINESSES, ITS PEOPLE—REALIZE ITS POTENTIAL? HOW WILL THE NEEDED LEADERS EMERGE? Can answers, if not clues, be found with one Mexican chairman/chief executive whose company now claims more than one-fifth of the world’s population as its customers and Forbes magazine ranks as one of the world’s most innovative, ahead of General Mills? What can we learn from Daniel Servitje, who has taken Grupo Bimbo, a bakery business founded 70 years ago with 34 employees by his father, uncle and four partners, and grown it from $2 billion in sales to $14 billion in sales and 129,000 associates in 22 countries?

GRUPO BIMBO supplies its products to retailers ranging from mom-and-pop stores to Wal-Mart and Costco, in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Its better known brands in the U.S.— Bimbo’s largest market by sales—include Sara Lee, Oroweat, Entenmann’s, Thomas’ English Muffins and Arnold’s. Bimbo is the U.S.’s largest bread seller, employing 22,000, and sells in more U.S. market areas than any competitor. Grupo Bimbo is the third largest Mexican multinational according to Expansion magazine.

Yet, Servitje’s views on leadership differ from most CEOs in the United States, though he might be a kindred spirit of Warren Buffet. At ease with himself and his values, and though we were told he’s shy, Servitje let down his guard enough to share a teenage story that he said he’s never told before, as well as some candid insights about his country and his own role and legacy.

Servitje also has the confidence to set aside concerns about 90-day profit performance, paying dividends and analysts carping over debt levels. He extends the value of culturally strong family ties to his associates (never referred to as employees), cultivates a diverse and inclusive work force and makes big bets on chasing environmental sustainability in Grupo Bimbo’s operations. He enjoys these freedoms because the company is still run on the principles and values of its founders. While the organization has a board of directors with many outside members, and is run like other public companies, the legacy built by Daniel’s 96-yearold father, Lorenzo Servitje, and 87-year-old uncle, Roberto Servitje, is still felt especially in the company´s ability to maintain a consistent long-term view.

Daniel served as Chairman of the Board since 2013, a position he took on top of his role as Chief Executive Officer, which he had held since 1997.

Grupo Bimbo has been named one of the “World’s Great Multinational Workplaces”, based on an employee survey and an audit of company policies and practices, by Great Place to Work, a human resources consulting, research and training firm that advises companies on how to change their corporate cultures. Grupo Bimbo has also been ranked No. 1 in reputation in Latin America for the last two years by MERCO, a business monitoring organization. Daniel Servitje spoke in Grupo Bimbo’s board room with Horacio J. McCoy, Korn Ferry’s president, Mexico, and chairman, Latin America; Jose Raul Guerrero, Korn Ferry’s director general, Mexico; Michael Distefano, Korn Ferry’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer; and Neal Koch, a contributor to Korn Ferry’s Briefings on Talent Leadership magazine. Also present were Luis Rene Martinez Souvervielle, Grupo Bimbo’s vice president for public and government affairs; and Monica Breton, Grupo Bimbo’s corporate communications manager.

THIS CUDDLY BRAND AMBASSADOR... WAS BORN ON THE 4TH OF JULY, 1945, WHEN THE COMPANY CHARTER WAS SIGNED. THE FOUNDERS HAD RECEIVED A CHRISTMAS CARD WITH A DRAWING OF A CUB BEAR, LATER THEY ADDED A BAKER’S HAT AND APRON. TODAY THE ICONIC CUB REPRESENTS THE SOFTNESS AND PURITY OF BIMBO PRODUCTS.