Ben & Jerry’s Says Board Pay Frozen by Unilever in Israel Row
Ben & Jerry’s says Unilever Plc froze compensation for the ice-cream brand’s independent board in retaliation after it sued its corporate parent in a dispute over sales in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Ben & Jerry’s sued Unilever last month to block a deal to sell the the ice-cream brand’s Israel arm to a local businessman saying it would conflict with the company’s “core values.” The legal action follows a controversy last year when Ben & Jerry’s said it would halt sales in Jewish West Bank settlements, citing human rights concerns.
Ben & Jerry’s has a history of publicly embracing socially progressive causes from same-sex marriage to the Black Lives Matter movement. Last week Unilever Chief Executive Officer Alan Jope said the brand shouldn’t stray into geopolitics with plenty “to get their teeth into on their social justice mission.”
Unilever said in an emailed statement that under the terms of the acquisition agreement forged 22 years ago, it maintains control of the financial and operational decisions for the Ben & Jerry’s brand and had the right to sell the Israel business.