Public listed company DGL Group is in hot soup over misogynistic comments made by the company’s chief executive Simon Henry about chef Nadia Lim.
In an interview with NBR, DGL chief executive Simon Henry criticised fellow listed company My Food Bag for including a photo of brand ambassador Lim in its prospectus before being publicly listed.
Henry had said that Lim was Eurasian fluff and suggested she was using her cleavage to help sell shares in her company.
In a recent interview he said, “I can tell you, and you can quote me, when you’ve got Nadia Lim, when you’ve got a little bit of Eurasian fluff in the middle of your prospectus with a blouse unbuttoned showing some cleavage, and that’s what it takes to sell your scrip, then you know you’re in trouble.”
His disparaging comments continued.
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“Go back to that prospectus and find that photo. You know you’re in trouble. I mean, you know, when you got a TV celebrity showing off her sensuality to hock script, then you know you’re in trouble. The uglier the board, the more successful the share. So, I sort of don’t get it; you come to market telling everyone it’s a great company. And, by the way, we’re selling it and running.
“I don’t get it. I mean, I’m a simple man. I don’t get it. If it’s so good, why are you selling it?”
He was talking about My Food Bag’s underwhelming entry into the public market.
Lim features on page 23 of the 84-page prospectus wearing blue denim jeans, a white top and a shawl, while cooking at a barbecue.
As a consequence of the above, Kiwi Wealth is adding DGL to its list of businesses it won’t invest in. Its chief executive Rhiannon McKinnon said that the comments were “offensive” and “misogynistic”.
“Kiwi Wealth does not invest in DGL and we are adding this company to our exclusion list to ensure it remains the case.
“The company’s profile raises a number of red flags we think should give anyone pause before investing – not only the CEO’s recent statements, but also his outsize personal control of the company.
“His objectionable behaviour now presents elevated reputational risks to the company which could be financially material, and should raise serious concerns for any investment manager serious about returns or sustainability, let alone reducing offensive misogynistic rhetoric in public discourse,” McKinnon said.
McKinnon is not the only one taking a strong stand as several other fund managers are also understood to be assessing their position.
The New Zealand Shareholders’ Association said Henry’s comments are “insulting to most retail and institutional investors, as well as to Nadia Lim”.
“We know that investors make decisions based on a variety of factors, including financial performance, governance quality and (increasingly) environmental sustainability. We consider it improbable and insulting to the capabilities of New Zealand investors that any investor would make a significant financial decision based on a picture of a company’s founder.”
Managing director of public relations consultancy Pead PR, Deborah Pead, who is friends with Lim and counts My Food Bag as a client, said Henry’s comments were misogynistic and insulting to Lim.
His comment about ugly boards being more successful was also an insult to the one woman on DGL’s board and would be hard to hear for all women working at DGL, she said.
“The women that work there, how can they look up to him as a leader when he is so proud of his misogyny that he challenges the NBR to quote him on it,” Pead said.
She said she was glad the NBR published Henry’s comments.
“This type of behaviour needs to be exposed.”
She said she was shocked and surprised someone of Henry’s position felt as though he had the licence to make such comments.
“It’s not acceptable, wherever it comes from, but certainly not someone in his position, he should know better.”
She said the board, customers and shareholders should be asking tough questions about Henry’s comments.
“We need to call this behaviour out.”
She said Henry should apologise to Lim and all the women in DGL’s workplace, especially the sole woman on DGL’s board who he had, in effect, called ugly.
He should also undertake conscious bias training, she said.
Operating across Australia, New Zealand and internationally, DGL Group offers formulation and manufacturing,warehousing and distribution, waste management and environmental solutions.