Trump Ends Business Councils

The president that prided himself on being a businessman rather than a politician could not keep his business councils together.

REUTERS

President Donald Trump announced via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon that he was eliminating his two business councils. According to sources, however, one of the groups already planned to disband after more CEOs revealed they would be exiting.

While Trump was trying to clinch the Republican nomination when running for president, he garnered a lot of support due to his status as a businessman and being an outsider from politics, according to a 2016 Gallup poll. However, his two business councils have both fallen apart less than one year after he took office.

The two latest CEOs to depart left on Wednesday. Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company, was initially slated to remain on the council but changed her mind by Wednesday. 3M’s chief executive Inge Thulin had largely been quiet on the issue but revealed Wednesday he would leave the council as well.

In addition to Morrison and Thulin, the only other CEOs who left the council before it was disbanded were:

Kenneth Frazier, Merck

Kevin Plank, Under Armour

Scott Paul, the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Brian Krzanich, Intel

Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO

According to CNN Money, leaders from Johnson & Johnson (No. 5 on the DiversityInc 2017 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list), United Technologies and General Electric had made the decision to leave the council just before Trump sent out his tweet.

J&J CEO Alex Gorsky initially planned to stay on the council but changed his mind after Trump equated the white supremacists at last weekend’s rally to the counter-protesters.

“At that time, I believed the best place to speak out was as a member of the White House Manufacturing Advisory Council, by having a seat at that table,” Gorsky said in a statement. “But the president’s remarks yesterday — equating those who are motivated by race-based hate with those who stand up against hatred — were unacceptable.

“Good leadership requires being open to new information, and acknowledging that when circumstances change, you must reconsider your position — especially when the issue at hand speaks to your values and the values your organization is built upon.”

GE’s Chairman Jeff Immelt in a statement called Trump’s remarks “deeply troubling.”

“There would be no GE without people of all races, religions, genders and sexual orientations. GE has no tolerance for hate, bigotry, racism, and the white supremacist extremism that the country witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend,” Immelt said.

Greg Hayes, chairman and CEO of United Technologies, said that after the events in Charlottesville, “it is clear that we need to collectively stand together and denounce the politics of hate, intolerance and racism. The values that are the cornerstone of our culture: tolerance, diversity, empathy and trust, must be reaffirmed by our actions every day.”

Mark Fields, formerly of Ford Motor Company; Klaus Kleinfeld, formerly of Arconic; and Mario Longhi, formerly of US Steel, have all exited their companies since January and did not retain their seats on the council, according to Business Insider.

Thea Lee, formerly with AFL-CIO, had remained on the council following her departure but stepped down this week.

Doug Oberhelman retired from Caterpillar at the beginning of this year. Reports from Recode and the New York Times appear to indicate he did not leave the council at that time.

Elon Musk of Tesla stepped down from the council following Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

CNN Money reported that Steve Schwarzman, CEO of Blackman and chair of the Strategy and Policy Forum, spoke with members of the group early on Wednesday. Many of them had already planned to leave the group but decided on the call to do away with the council entirely.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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16 comments


  • Appears to be Trump’s version of, “this is my sandbox and you’re not leaving, I’m not going to let you play anymore.”

  • I found it strange to have a business council when all of his and the family’s products are manufactured overseas.

  • The council members decided to disband, it was not Trump’s decision. WSJ is reporting this news.

    • You are correct. A more accurate headline might be: Business Councils Disband; POTUS Takes Credit

  • On the one hand considering the clime and continued back lash against President Trump I can understand why the CEOs are distancing themselves, but on the other hand it’s a shame the end result is being based on personal opinion and not a steadfast resolution to perform the intended purpose of the council and work to grow and strengthen businesses that could potentially benefit individuals and the country. I’m not sure if this is the winning solution, but it is where we are now.

    • There are plenty of organizations that have nothing to do with the White House that promote and lobby for American businesses. The only purpose for that counsel was to have a photo op: A bunch of jack-o’-lanterns around a table grinning and bobble-head nodding at Donald J Trump.

    • You can’t “work to grow and strengthen businesses” with a POTUS who defends bigotry, which is toxic for businesses.

  • Latest news reports say that the members disbanded the council before The Chump dissolved them. He’s just trying to save face – too late for that – yet again. Because, as we well know, it is all about his image, his brand, his ego.

  • “Trump Ends Business Councils”, LOL, failure-45, the business council “severed” you!

  • So, I find it quite intriguing that after the first four CEO’s departed and the rest of the committee decided to disband, that somehow Trump is getting credited for having ended the business council. Someone correct me but, if they decided to disband how is that something that Trump did? I’m just curious.

    • I don’t think the rest of the committee decided to disband. I think enough of them communicated
      indecision to give the president enough concern to disband the committee preemptively. There are CEOs who are apparently agree with Trump, like IBM’s Romnety.

      CEOs get to be CEOs because they don’t make mistakes. However, as Admiral Hyman Rickover said, “The price of perfection is immobility.”

      There are times when leadership, judgement and character must overcome safety and inertia.

      I didn’t see a downside in leaving the committee after he openly sided with neo Nazis. Trump is willing to cut anybody’s neck to get ahead. He has no loyalty, never has. He been sued by thousands of customers, contractors, and business partners. He can’t be trusted.

  • Trump’s main “business” was being Trump on camera; like Schwarzenegger in California, he was elected because of his tough-guy-on-television image. Still, given the choice between 6 years or President Trump and 2 of (Bill and ) Hillary Clinton (with li’l Chelsea thrown in as a bonus!), I’d choose Trump, primarily for the Federalist Society/Heritage Foundation judicial nominee list.

    • I understand that choice before Charlottesville, but now that you’re seeing how nuts this guy is (busy advocating war crimes over the past day), really?

      How do you think your daughter would fare as a POW in Syria after a “pig blood” incident from President Orange Lying Nutcase?

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