Trump hastily dissolved two business advisory councils this week as chief executives began resigning over his remarks about an eruption of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked by a far-right rally around a Confederate monument. Among them, Intel, Merck, Under Armour, 3M, and the Campbell Soup Company.
The clash turned to horror when a white supremacist allegedly plowed his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of anti-Nazi protesters, killing a woman and injuring 19 people.
Making political statements can be perilous for companies, but sometimes it’s riskier not to take a stand, two experts in executive communications suggest.
Companies have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, and that consideration plays into CEO’s political positions, says Rob Friedman, a communications consultant and former senior director of Global Executive Communications for Eli Lilly and Company. There’s a risk any time a corporation wades into politics, because it can be a lose-lose situation, Friedman adds.
That said, these days the fiduciary responsibility includes a commitment to diversity in an increasingly diverse country, Friedman says. That makes it more obvious that companies would take a stance in this case.