Unilever’s finance director Jim Lawrence believes teleconferencing is the way forward in these times of economic downturn: “Less wasted time, travelling, more time with my family”.
Rather strange given that Lawrence is also a non-executive director of British Airways.
Maybe he was just getting in on the act with the new executive toy at Unilever House where, reports The Times, a wall of screens paints a picture of the ‘others’ in the virtual meeting.
Even a teleconference with chief executive Paul Polman, does not spare those who do not turn up on time, as one Dutch journalist arriving late for a meeting on 5 February in Unilever House found out. Not only was he, apparently, upbraided for being late, but denied an answer to a question that had already been asked.
New technology may provide savings in certain meetings situations but most definitely is just a tool and no substitute for appearance in person when it matters.