John Replogle ’88 Says Business Is the Most Powerful Force Today

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Read the full story by Carole Gaudet, published by the Tuck School of Business.

John Replogle ’88 calls it his “spear in the chest moment.” As the president of Guinness Bass Import Co. in the U.S., and Guinness U.K., he’d been focused on a swift career climb, complete with a personal mission statement summarizing his goals.

John Replogle

Dartmouth Trustee John Replogle ’88 gave the August 28 keynote address at the Tuck School’s Allwin Community Outreach Day. (Courtesy of the Tuck School of Business)

Then came the morning when Replogle climbed into the car with his daughters to start another busy day. He looked in the rearview mirror, and something in that glance changed the course of his work. “I saw those eyes staring back at me, and I realized that everything I was doing was about me, not about my girls and their lives and world. I realized that my mission statement included nothing about making their lives better.”

So Replogle quit Guinness and joined Unilever, becoming the company’s general manager for its North American skin care division. He helped to launch the “Real Beauty” campaign for Dove and establish the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. He then served as president and chief executive officer of Burt’s Bees, a leading environmentally friendly personal care products company, before finally becoming CEO and president of Seventh Generation, another top green consumer products brand.

Why the deep and sustained focus on consumer products with a mission? “Capitalism is one of the greatest forces for social good that we’ve ever seen, but capitalism’s impacts have dramatic negative consequences,” Replogle told a group of Tuck MBA students on August 28. “We need a new way to measure capitalism’s externalities. That’s a fundamental issue for this generation to think through—rebalancing the scales.”

Replogle, who is also a Trustee of Dartmouth College, was on hand to give the keynote address for the Tuck School of Business’ Allwin Community Outreach Day. The Center for Business & Society, sponsor of the daylong event, organized the entering class of 2015 into small teams to visit 29 nonprofit organizations in and around the Upper Valley. Students met with the executive directors to learn about specific challenges faced by each organization, and to bring their business knowledge and skills to bear on proposed solutions.