Paulo Zottolo, president of Philips in Latin America, declared recently that we shouldn’t think Brazil is a Piauí, in the sense that it doesn’t matter; no one would mind if Piauí stopped existing. The scoff caused the company to be boycotted by in the state by Armazém Paraíba and other large department stores. Paulo Zottolo was repudiated by the state governor, Wellington Dias, and many other politicians, as well as students, even from other states. Ivete Sangalo, famous singer and Philips poster girl, didn’t make comments on the controversy.
Paulo Zottolo is a founder of Cansei (“I’m tired”), which is another name for Movimento pelo Direito Cívico dos Brasileiros (“Movement for the Brazilians’ Civic Rights”). Interviewed August 9 by the Folha de São Paulo journal, he said the movement wouldn’t propose anything: If it had a proposal, it would be a partisan movement. For me, “Cansei” is an invitation to meditation. This is some help the Brazilian people can give to the government. August 16, he was <a href="interviewed by the Valor Econômico magazine, saying Philips would leave the movement if it became partisan. The result was as negative as possible: Paulo Zottolo criticized the Brazilian state of Piauí during the interview, and now the movement seems to be weakened. This isn’t the first time he used negatively the state image: in 2005, in an article of the IstoÉ Dinheiro magazine, Paulo Zottolo said Nivea [in Brazil] was like Piauí capital Teresina: everybody knows it exists, but few know it.
Wellington Dias, Piauí governor, released a note lamenting Paulo Zottolo didn’t know Piauí, land of a former financial director of the dutch multinational. The National Congress reacted, transforming Teresina’s birthday in a retaliation session in favor of Piauí. The Piauí Legislative Assembly and Justice Tribunal followed the example and approved a repudiation motion for Paulo Zottolo. The latter considered Wellington Dias’s invitation to know the state, which resulted in a manifestation in Teresina, with the destruction of Philips equipments and a copy of Paulo Zottolo’s apology note. A few days latter, the Claudino Group, Philips fifth greater buyer in Brazil, determined its department store Armazém Paraíba to stop buying and selling Philips products in Piauí, for indeterminate time, and is considering to extend the boycott to other Brazilian states. Insinuante and Gabryella stores adhered to the initiative.
Ivete Sangalo is one of the Cansei movement founders’ sister, and Philips poster girl; unsurprisingly she participated in the public act in Praça da Sé. The next week she had a show in Teresina; Ivete Sangalo didn’t mention the controversy, didn’t use Philips big screens, and stated that if her body was a map, her heart would be Piauí.
August 22, Philips informed Paulo Zottolo was on a trip. More exactly, to Europe, where he should stay until the end of the month. As the repudiation grows stronger (there’s even a cordel), people already talk about a possible Zottolo resignation.
In globalization and internationalization times, how about we generalize respect?