Turning Reputation Risk into PR Opportunity: Story of AXA - helping world become better place, a world free from tobacco.
It all started with a letter sent by Dr. Bronwyn King to the AXA board of directors. Story of AXA's divestment in tobacco is one of the greatest in modern times highlighting good governance, corporate responsibility and effective reputation risk management. In a stunning financial decision that will make history, AXA decided to divest around 1.8 billion Euro worth of tobacco-industry stocks.
AXA with over 102 million customers in 56 countries and an employee base of 157,000, is one of the world's leading insurance groups. This decision to divest is not very popular among all of its stakeholders and yet AXA's management took this step as they can see the risks and total cost of tobacco industry as it relates to healthcare cost and loss of lives. Taking this decision will make AXA very popular and respectable company among anti-smoking groups. Overall its a huge win for the company and the society at large as we tackle the issue of tobacco addiction. Kudos to AXA's management and board of director for excellent decision making on this issue.