Tnuva CEO Steps Down amid Probe Regarding Monopolistic Practices

Zehavit Cohen, the CEO of Israel’s largest dairy company, stepped down from her position after anti-trust regulators initiated an investigation into the company’s practices.

The probe, which comes in the wake of a summer of protests regarding the cost of living in the country, aims to encourage competition in the economy and end the monopolistic practices many conglomerates in the country are infamous for.  Tnuva, the largest dairy company in the country, was targeted because the protests throughout the summer were triggered by a protest over dairy prices.  Those protests successfully caused dairy companies to reduce their prices by about 20 percent, which are likely to become permanent.

The investigation which culminated with the Cohen’s resignation stemmed from the failure of the company to submit documentation to the Anti-Trust Authority.  According to reports, Schor and Cohen were questioned for ten hours regarding the company’s practices and why they failed to submit the requested documentation.

Cohen’s reasons for resignation are likely due to the pressure from the Antitrust Authority and the fact that her reputation as a CEO has been tarnished.  However, her stated reason was the Authority’s rules that forbid individuals from sitting on the executive boards of multiple companies as well as the current economic situation in Israel that caused the unrest over the cost of living.  Cohen will accept a position with the Psagot Company when the investigation has been completed.

According to Tnuva’s CEO Arik Schor, the company would reveal its financials for the last year and would also be the first to implement the recommendations stemming from the Trajtenberg Committee report about the state of the economy and the business of practices in all sectors of the economy.  Tnuva aims to reduce its prices on cheese and milk by at least 20 percent.  The company’s reduction of prices has also caused other major dairies such as Strauss and Tara to reduce their prices as well.

The Trajtenberg Committee issued a series of guidelines this month for reducing the cost of living in the face of the tent protest over the summer.  One of the recommendations in the report was to allow the Antitrust Authority to break up all of the monopolies in the country, including those in the food and highly uncompetitive financial and telecommunication sectors.