Is it just atrocious luck that Tiger Brands has ended up on the wrong side of three reputation-crushing disasters in the past few years? Or is there a deeper cultural nonchalance towards rules at the company? It’s an apposite question in the wake of one of the least-convincing media conferences in recent times, when Tiger Brands’ highly rated CEO, Lawrence MacDougall, responded last week to government’s findings that Tiger’s Enterprise factory in Polokwane was ground zero for the worst listeriosis outbreak the world has seen. Given that at least 180 people died due to the bacteria, it was never going to be easy. But MacDougall made no friends by sticking to a script that appeared to have been presoaked in the ink of a thousand lawyers. First imperative, you imagine his legal team told him, was to admit nothing, apologise for nothing, construct a wall against lawsuits. It was predictably awful. "I cannot apologise for something that I am not clear of. We have not seen evidence of the...

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