A Conclave of America’s Top CEOs Talks Race and Making Change – WSJ

Leaders of General Motors Co., Johnson & Johnson, American Airlines Group Inc. and other big businesses gathered via Zoom this week for a roundtable about the business impacts of the coronavirus. With protests gaining momentum across the U.S., the participants quickly changed the subject. What followed was a rare peer-to-peer conversation among more than 300 chief executives, mayors and government officials about race relations and social justice—and the public role plenty of chief executive officers now see for themselves. American Airlines’ Doug Parker talked about deciding his comments on political and social issues matter. Executives from International Business Machines Corp. brought up concerns about the experience of their black employees, and GM’s Mary Barra talked about the need to provide education and career opportunities for African-Americans. Many participants in the call stayed silent, but a number of CEOs said they have decided that speaking publicly about issues is part of the job—a marked change from earlier eras, when executives avoided statements that could be seen as political. Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said that while leaders may wish to view themselves as removed from politics, their actions telegraph values.

A Conclave of America’s Top CEOs Talks Race and Making Change – WSJ

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