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Thread: Howard Schultz to Anti-Gay-Marriage Starbucks Shareholder: 'You Can Sell Your Shares'

  1. #1

    Howard Schultz to Anti-Gay-Marriage Starbucks Shareholder: 'You Can Sell Your Shares'

    I wonder if this will result in the same flap that ensued after the innocent, honest words of Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-a?

    Howard Schultz to Anti-Gay-Marriage Starbucks Shareholder: 'You Can Sell Your Shares'



    In Pictures: Billionaire Howard Schultz

    At Starbucks’ annual meeting in Seattle on Wednesday a shareholder complained to the chief executive, Howard Schultz, that the company had lost customers because of its support for gay marriage. Last year Starbucks announced its support for Washington’s state’s referendum backing gay marriage, and in response the National Organization for Marriage launched a boycott of the coffee chain.

    “In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings, shall we say politely, were a bit disappointing,” said the shareholder, Tom Strobhar, whom the Huffington Post identifies at the founder of the anti-gay marriage Corporate Morality Action Center.


    Starbucks' Howard Schultz Wants To Redefine The Role of Business In Society

    Was Schultz taken aback? Not in the least. He responded, “Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year. I don’t know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38% over the last 12 months. Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds.”

    At that point the audience interrupted in cheers and applause. Then Schultz concluded, “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.” More cheers.

    A Washington Post poll this week found that support for gay marriage among Americans has shot up to 58% in favor and 36% against, a complete turnaround in less than 10 years. Schultz’s stand isn’t nearly as daring as it would have been a few years back, but still, it’s impressive to see a CEO think about more than the bottom line and get cheered by his shareholders for it.

    See a video of Schultz’s remark, courtesy of the Puget Sound Business Journal, here.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by ibleedgreen View Post
    ...Schultzís stand isnít nearly as daring as it would have been a few years back, but still, itís impressive to see a CEO think about more than the bottom line and get cheered by his shareholders for it...
    So, would this article have the same tone if the CEO did not support Obamacare, gun control, etc. because he wanted the company to stand up for freedom? Personally, I think the company should have not taken a stand either way with regards to gay marriage.

  3. #3
    isnt cocaine cheaper now a days? and you dont have to wait in those long lines, .....you snort those long lines!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by SOF.Gator View Post
    So, would this article have the same tone if the CEO did not support Obamacare, gun control, etc. because he wanted the company to stand up for freedom? Personally, I think the company should have not taken a stand either way with regards to gay marriage.
    I agree .. here's a post I made on Facebook regarding this topic..

    The overarching issue is how much corporations should be involved in forming or reforming social policy. If you read the article I posted, there is a link from a Forbes article in 2011 where the CEO of Starbucks is saying things like, "We can't wait for Washington to get up to speed", and , "We need to push for equality <social justice> on our own" (paraphrased). On the flip-side, all Dan Cathy said was that they were "Pro-family" and "pro-Bible". They do contribute to certain pro-life and pro-family organizations ("hate groups", in the opposition's mind).

    I guess I am not so sure I like corporations driving social policy and change and forcing its customer base to analyze their own beliefs & values in considering if they will buy from them or not. We like the product in both places and frequent them often (and truth be told, we have often stopped in at a Chick-fil-a while traveling on a Sunday and forgotten they are not open -- after the initial disappointment, we are glad someone stands on traditional values, but I digress).

    That being said, I really don't care to have my chicken sandwich or latte politicized for Pete's sake. I have enough of that in other areas!

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