Corporate America has set the right precedent by standing up to president Donald Trump and rejecting the bigotry he has come to represent. Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co., resigned from the American Manufacturing Council (AMC), an advisory body, stating that America’s leaders must honour “fundamental values”, after Trump failed to condemn the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the killing of a person demonstrating against the rally. Intel’s Brian Krzanich and Under Armour’s Kevin Plank followed suit. By the time Trump dissolved the AMC to pre-empt more resignations, 12 of its 28 members had stepped down, including Jeff Immelt of GE and Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson. Members of the other advisory body, the Strategy and Policy Forum too had decided to disband before Trump moved to get rid of it.
Industry leaders Laurence Fink of BlackRock and Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase made it clear, in internal memos, that they stood against the politics that fuelled Charlottesville-type bigotry. Fink even termed the Charlottesville killing as “domestic terrorism”. Although all of them avoided naming Trump, none were circumspect about opposing politics that undermines the US’s prized diversity.
Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Tesla chief Elon Musk ended their association with the Trump presidency following the infamous travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries and after he pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord, respectively. Standing up to dangerous politics, they have all set an example for their peers around the world to follow.