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Sweet ToothLast week the Americas were shuddering over the reality that delights including Twinkies, Wonder Bread, Ring Dings, Devil Dogs, SnoBalls, Yodels and many more goodies that we all grew up with will be no more. This was the result of the bankruptcy court approving the liquidation of the company after management was unable to reach a satisfactory agreement with a variety of unions who represent 18,000 workers who baked, wrapped and delivered the sweet stuff. In many around the nation, there was a run on Twinkies and the other Hostess delights that left the shelves bare. I am lamenting this not only because I now have an unfulfilled craving for everyone of their products, but more so because I am frustrated to see a venerable old institution go the way of so many that have been unable to adjust to changing market conditions. In the case of the unions, such companies are resistant to change and a failure to remain competitive by adjusting work rules and compensation that must be realigned to enable a company to remain on a solid financial footing. Today there is a last-ditch effort by the unions, the bankruptcy court and Hostess management to make a deal to save Ring Dings. Failing that, some of the brands will be picked-up and reintroduced, but alas, the buyer may be a Chinese company that is trying to corner the global Twinkies market.

Tony LoPinto is the Global Sector Leader of Korn/Ferry International’s Real Estate Practice and founder of SelectLeaders. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

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