August 17, 2007, Bloomberg
Shirley Apthorp, Bloomberg News
critic wrote an article
commitment to sponsor the Lucerne Festival Orchestra
through 2010. Nestle SA Chief Executive Officer Peter Brabeck-Letmathe
said in an interview, “Abbado is an artist, but he's also a good leader. And one thing that leaders have in common — whether in art, business, or politics — is an ability to be sensitive toward people. You have to have the ability to motivate people to do more. A good conductor can change the sound of a whole orchestra with a glance or a gesture.''
Brabeck once took members of a conference of international Nestle managers to an orchestral rehearsal.
* * *
"I had given a talk in which I compared the role of CEO to that of an orchestral conductor,'' he said. "I invited all the managers to sit next to the musicians of a French orchestra during a rehearsal. The orchestra also tried to play for a while without a conductor, so that they could see the difference, and it wasn't long before the whole thing went astray. The quality of a performance depends on what the conductor does.
"There was a lot of discussion after that,'' he said. "They saw that if it is to work, the musicians also have to assume responsibility.''
Accordingly, Brabeck has dispensed entirely with job descriptions at Nestle.
"It would be wrong to write down everything that each job entails,'' he says. "It's a ridiculous idea. People must be able to define for themselves how they can create the most value for the company.''