Thursday, August 17, 2017

Kenneth Frazier's notable courage

Before the moment completely passes, it is appropriate to recognize the first CEO to demonstrate backbone by action and not just words and confront Trump by resigning the American Manufacturing Council after the President's heinous remarks about the Charlottesville events.  Early Monday morning, Kenneth Frazier of Merck stepped into a spotlight that his Board, his employees, shareholders, and his clients would share whether they wanted to or not.  He could not know at the moment that he resigned what the response would be.

Within an hour Trump went to Twitter and blasted Frazier, apparently thinking that this prominent black CEO was out there on his own, wink, nod.  He was not and others followed slowly at first and by Wednesday the Council was collapsing, as was the so-called Strategy and Policy Forum.  Steve Schwartzman made an effort to salvage what he could for his long term business friend Trump but, being the amoral realist that he is, quickly gave up and reported the facts to Trump.  Trump then pretended to disband the councils of his own volition.

Frazier had a stellar background of legal public service before his business career, and he took a risk that could have been magnified by his background.  He was quickly and unequivocally vindicated.


Postscript:   It should be noted that Elon Musk resigned from the Strategy and Policy Forum earlier in the year, in a less charged atmosphere, due to Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accords. Who can forget seeing Trump outside of the White House reading a script written by Bannon about which he obviously had no understanding, as the withdrawal was announced to a group of sycophants on the lawn.



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