CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Apr 2, 2014) - Mondelēz International Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld told a gathering of North American Reform rabbis how Judaism guides her professional life and leadership of one of the world's largest food and beverage companies. Mondelēz International is the $35 billion global snacking powerhouse launched following Rosenfeld's strategic decision to spin-off the company's North American grocery operations (Kraft Foods Group) in October 2012.
Rosenfeld said that three Jewish precepts, in particular, inform her professional philosophy: They include the ethos of living a clean life; the imperative to follow the Golden Rule; and the Jewish obligation to practice Tikkun Olam, Hebrew for "repairing the world."
Rosenfeld addressed the 125th annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) in Chicago. The CCAR is the world's largest group of Jewish clergy, with over 2,000 member rabbis.
"My husband Richard and I attend Friday night services whenever I'm in town," said Rosenfeld, who belongs to North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Ill. "Shabbat continues to be for me and my family a wonderful respite from the hectic pace of the week."
In explaining Judaism's role in her business life, Rosenfeld described the multifaceted nature of its values:
- She said that "living a clean life" allowed her to withstand the intense personal scrutiny of regulators, shareholder activists and paparazzi during Kraft's acquisition of Cadbury in 2009: "The UK media went to incredible lengths to dig up dirt on the person who was trying to acquire their beloved brands, but fortunately they didn't come up with anything scandalous, because I have led a clean life," she said.
- The Golden Rule, overlooked by "a few bad Jewish apples" like Bernie Madoff, has taught her the importance of respect in business, she said. "Being successful does not require you to have a mean-spirited nickname. Nice guys -- and gals -- can finish first, if you simply treat others the way you would want to be treated." She said she always applies the Golden Rule in sensitive business situations, like acquisitions and consolidations.
- Tikkun Olam, the Jewish obligation to care for the world and its inhabitants, informs not only Rosenfeld's personal life, but also her strategic decision-making when it comes to Mondelēz International, she said. "Protecting the well-being of our planet and its people is one of the five strategic pillars fueling our growth, and we've committed $400 million over 10 years to Cocoa Life, a massive cocoa sustainability effort. Together with our partners, we're helping hundreds of thousands of farmers in Ghana, Ivory Coast, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and other developing countries improve farming practices and earn higher incomes. Our efforts to protect the well-being of our planet are not only good for business, but they're also good for our souls."
For more information about the CCAR Convention, please contact Eric Mosher of Sommerfield Communications at (212) 255-8386 or Eric@sommerfield.com.
The Central Conference of American Rabbis, founded in 1889, is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America. As the professional organization for Reform Rabbis of North America, the CCAR projects a powerful voice in the religious life of the American and international Jewish communities. Since its establishment, the CCAR has a rich history of giving professional and personal support to Reform rabbis, providing them with opportunities for study, professional development and spiritual growth beginning while they are still in seminary, through mid-careers, and into retirement. The CCAR is uniquely positioned to meet the ongoing needs of its nearly 2,000 member rabbis (virtually the entire Reform rabbinate) and the entire Reform Jewish community. For more information please visit the CCAR's website at http://ccarnet.org/.