One Year Ago: CEOs Respond to Charlottesville

CECP looks back at the corporate response to Charlottesville
Aug 14, 2018 8:45 AM ET

Today marks one year since Merck CEO Ken Frazier announced his resignation from the President's American Manufacturing Council in response to what he and his company felt was a failure to appropriately denounce "expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy" on the part of the federal government. In the days that followed, nearly all CEOs followed suit and resigned from the group, marking a new era in brands and CEOs taking stands in support of social issues of critical importance to their stakeholders. 

CECP: The CEO Force for Good wrote a blog celebrating the actions taken by so many of the world's leading companies that chose to take a public position on the issue, most of whom are were and still are a part of CECP's coalition. We also took this idea of CEOs as the new advocates a step further,  developing a framework through which companies can prepare themselves for what has become an inevitable part of business: CEO Activism. 

The original blog has been reproduced in part below and CECP urges all business leaders and their executive teams to review our most recent post on this subject, "You Didn't Learn This in Business School".

CEO's Respond to Charlottesville

By Daryl Brewster, CEO, CECP

Along with so many across the nation, CECP was shocked by the events in Charlottesville earlier this month and yet encouraged by the actions of the CEOs of many of world’s largest corporations – most affiliated with this CECP network – that demonstrated that the courage and conviction of business can and should be a force for good.

CECP knows that leading CEOs and corporations see societal investments as integral to business excellence, long-term value creation, and as core to their daily commitments to broader society. CECP was founded by such CEOs nearly 20 years ago and has encouraged, worked with, and witnessed the vital role corporate America can and do play daily: As community-builders, workforce-supporters, service-providers, and defenders of diversity and inclusion.

Indeed, per the Edelman Trust Barometerfour out of five citizens agree that business can make a profit and make a difference. Additionally, live polling conducted at CECP’s 12th annual Board of Boards indicates an overwhelming majority (two-thirds) of CEOs agree that companies—not the government or NGOs–will lead progress toward long-term societal improvement. CECP anticipates further conversation about the impacts of recent events at it the 13th annual Board of Boards in early 2018, themed: Corporate Leadership, Societal Progress.

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