Paul R. Block -
The icing on the cake was having the privilege of working with and observing CEO, Paul Block in action.
In our first communication Paul
wrote, "My personal style is to empower people to work in teams to find solutions, moreover, to work collectively, through a constructive dissention process and purpose.
is a true value creator, both in the traditional operational and management sense, and in his
ability to understand and take advantage of the impact that the balance sheet and capital markets have on stake holder value.
combines an optimistic style with a realistic, pragmatic view of the range of potential outcomes, which makes him credible and inspiring.
Perhaps most valuable and unusual, is Paul's ability to adjust and adapt quickly, which allows Paul to be a member of the Team when that is the most effective, to be the leader when that is the most effective, and to adopt the approach and style that is most likely to accomplish the objective.
When a company faces significant challenge and opportunity, the experience, perspective, and style of Paul Block
would be a very significant asset."
During the last two years, I have worked very closely with Paul Block on restructuring Merisant.
possesses the rare combination of skills required by a CEO to implement a truly successful restructuring.
First and foremost, he
has tremendous business judgment that has allowed him to make very difficult business decisions in the face of limited liquidity.
More impressively, he
was able to develop, market and launch a successful new product line while securing a world-class operating partner despite the company's financial difficulties.
In addition, Paul
has a very sharp understanding of the overall financial objectives and requirements of the ongoing restructuring.
understanding of the company's capital structure and liquidity targets is consistently thorough and accurate.
Lastly, Paul's ability to keep his
management team together during a difficult restructuring is commendable.
Based on my experience, this is only achieved by a CEO who is truly a leader within and outside of his
company - a quality that Paul
"I had the pleasure of working closely with Paul
team at Merisant
to comb the world to identify and evaluate a number of natural sweetener candidates and select the one that represented the best new product opportunity.
had the vision to put together an external team of regulatory scientists who were experts in evaluating the safety of sweeteners and obtaining GRAS status, paving the way for Merisant
to extend its product line into the important natural sweetener area.
As the leader of the external safety and regulatory team, I was impressed by Paul's deft ability to understand the complex scientific issues to be addressed and the rationale for the regulatory path chosen for Rebaudioside A. A crucial part of the strategy was to meet with FDA
early in the process to explain the scientific rationale for GRAS status of Rebaudioside A and to proactively identify and address any safety issues.
As a result, Merisant
was the first company to file a GRAS notification with the FDA
, receiving a no-objection letter from the FDA
in a timely manner.
team of highly regarded scientific and regulatory experts was a major factor that led a multinational food and beverage company to partner with Merisant
Then there is Paul Block
, who is one of the very few equally adept and comfortable in both camps.
I worked closely with Paul
for nearly 20 years across a range of companies and sectors - from his
days as a Marketing Director at Guinness to his
first CEO position with Sara Lee
, and most recently as Chairman and CEO of Merisant
considerable set of skills that I find most impressive is his
ability to join up his
'man-on-a-mission' pursuit of ambitious, transformational value initiatives for moving brands and organizations into the future with a tenacity and desire to deliver immediate and tangible business results … and more than anything accounts for his
record of success in managing high-growth as well as turnaround situations.
In both cases, Paul has proved to be an effective agent of change with the necessary vision to drive true organizational potential and the chief motivator in the boardroom who encourages others to take action and realize those changes."
"While serving on the Merisant Board of Directors, I saw Paul in action under formidable conditions.
At a time when the company was facing and then operating under bankruptcy, he
managed to retain a talented executive team, preserve and even expand strategic relationships with PepsiCo
, maintain favorable supplier relationships and execute the launch of Pure Via™ - an innovative new product with landmark implications for the company.
navigated the regulatory process adeptly for securing FDA allowance of the key ingredient in Pure Via™, and his
strategy to reposition the Merisant product mix in order to focus on all-natural ingredients yielded a growth path for the company.
can stay focused on the business objectives and navigate the minefield of restructuring at the same time, and even under steady fire he
is in the top tier of competence and ability to lead with trust and accountability.
integrity, straightforward assessments and decisive action plans have earned him a very strong sense of confidence from the board.
As a private equity investor, I have worked with scores of CEOs and management teams, and I personally find Paul's
approach, instincts and intelligence refreshing."
"I had the opportunity to work with Paul
was at Allied Domecq and Sara Lee
For both companies, his
leadership transformed the business and the brands.
was able to quickly sort through complex, layered business and marketing issues, and thoughtfully unravel them until strategic clarity and focus were restored.
I also observed his
exceptional talent to restructure and re-cast an organization… he
not only brought out the best in his
organization but in mine, as well.
In every situation, Paul
aligns all of the important details… he
is a positive force who inspires individuals and teams to achieve aspiration outcomes."
Paul R. Block
President and CEO
About Paul Block
Copyright © Paul R. Block
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