You know by now I’m not one to join aboard the cancel culture train when someone says something deemed out of line, but I think that businessman Simon Henry would be wise to apologise for what he said about Nadia Lim.
I’m saying this not because I’ve taken offence at it, but because he’s wrong and because he risks wearing personal and business damage unless here he kills this off as a media story as soon as possible.
Just in case you haven’t heard this, what he said during an interview with NBR was this: “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.”
If you read the context of the article, he was trying to compare his business’ recent IPO with My Food Bag’s recent IPO.
His IPO did really well. Shares that were worth AUD $1 at float are now worth near AUD $3.80.
My Food Bag’s IPO did not do as well. Shares that were worth $1.85 at float fell immediately, never recovered, and are now worth less than half of that at 89 cents.
Simon Henry accuses My Food Bag of attracting investors by selling on Nadia Lim’s appeal.
If he is trying to suggest that there are naïve mum and dad investors out there who invest in shares because they recognise the brand and they like the brand and they like the person associated with the brand rather than because they actually understand the fundamentals of the business, than he’s right. That does happen.
That happens a lot lately, especially in the Sharesies age.
But he’s wrong to suggest that it’s got anything to do with Nadia’s cleavage and ethnicity and sensuality. There’s not even that any cleavage in the photo that he’s talking about and there’s certainly nothing in that top to unbutton.
Now there’s every chance that Simon Henry could weather this storm.
He’s obviously great at the core part of his job. One equity analyst told media that Henry’s one of the best CEO’s he’s met. DGL’s share value is pretty much largely unchanged since the story printed.
But already a KiwiSaver fund has added his business to the list of businesses it will not invest in anymore.
Commentators are universally outraged by what he said and My Food Bag co-founder Cecilia Robinson is pressuring his board to take action and pressuring investors to reconsider whether this lines up with their principles.
Now he can decide whether he wants this to carry on or not.
If I was him, I would just rip the bandage off, stem any possible damage by simply getting it over and done with and saying that he’s sorry.