Filling the perceived moral vacuum in Washington, CEOs warned of threats to democracy and announced commitments to tackle racial inequality. Many have publicly stated their position on Trump’s approach to the climate crisis and immigration.
There is a new administration in the White House, and on a number of political fronts, President Joe Biden and Corporate America are more closely linked. But when it comes to thinking about the role their companies play in society, business leaders should not go back to their old ways.
“[This] becomes an opportunity to continue this self-reflection, “Deepak Malhotra, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, told me.
Why this matters: Society is increasingly relying on companies to make the right calls on political and social issues. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer for 2021
Following the revolt of pro-Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol, a survey of 40 CEOs conducted by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of the Yale School of Management found that 96% of respondents believe that Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Position.
These same leaders must now play a role as the impeachment process unfolds, Sonnenfeld told me. The Senate trial is set to begin on February 9.
“I think they should officially and unofficially continue to insist on accountability,” Sonnenfeld said. “Our management system is a big part of the reason for their business success – and they know it.”
Then there are debates on issues such as climate. For the past four years, businesses have become accustomed to claiming a leadership robe when the Trump administration retires.
“Business is suddenly ahead of the government by a big margin,” Malhotra said.
One thing is for sure: Businesses will be forced to continue to be actively involved in social issues just because of changing consumer tastes. As it became clear after the police assassination of George Floyd last summer that led to millions of protesters, younger customers are increasingly demanding that the brands they support cause causes like Black Lives Matter; workers want the same from their employers.
“Business has been forced to address these issues, not specifically because of President Trump, but because of what is happening on the streets and in communities, as well as in its own workforce,” Malhotra said.
Watch this space: The role of corporations in society will usually be discussed next week in the Swiss Alps as executives gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos. This year, it is not surprising that the January issue of the WEF is an entirely digital affair, although the group hopes to hold a personal event in Singapore this summer.
Talks on the topic, involving leaders such as BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff, are moving forward. Watch Before the bell for highlights.
Is Apple’s 5G iPhone for sale? We are yet to find out
Wall Street is counting on rapid sales of the iPhone 12 to recharge Apple’s profits. This week, investors will find out if such predictions come true.
Apple reported profits after the closure of US markets on Wednesday. Given the company’s 75% increase in shares over the past year – in part due to expectations for wild sales of the iPhone 12 – this will be a big event in the market.
According to Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives, much depends on demand outside China, focusing on any comments about the country’s economic return.
“China remains a key ingredient in Apple’s recipe for success, as we believe about 20% of iPhone upgrades will come from this region next year,” Ives said in a recent statement to customers.