How much should the political views of a company’s CEO or board of directors matter?

TheCount

Last week the CEO of Mozilla resigned after it was revealed that he donated $1000 to support Proposition 8, the California anti-gay rights ballot initiative that passed a couple of years ago. Now, there are calls to boycott Dropbox because former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has joined the board of directors. Does it really matter what the political views of these people are, as long as they do a good job for the company?

Topic: Business
Answer this Question

Answers

2 total
rousseau
Vote Up (5)

I did not approve of the pressure against Brendon Eich, CEO of Mozilla, even though I thought he supported a hateful and divisive cause. He was one of the founders of the company and what he did was personal, not while wearing his Mozilla hat. I will grant that a CEO is not like an hourly employee, however, he or she is the public face of the company. When the public face of the company becomes associated with bigotry and discrimination, that becomes a problem for that company’s image, so there is at least a somewhat valid reason for his departure.

However, when you are Dropbox, a company that stores the data for millions of individuals and companies and the new member of your board of directors is a torture apologist who is on record supporting warrantless wiretaps, that is a direct threat to me and my expectations of privacy. Board members don’t manage the day to day operation of a company, but they certainly help determine the direction the company is heading and have significant influence on company policies, including whether they just hand over customer data to any government official who wants it or if they fight it tooth and nail. I won’t do business with Dropbox as long as Condi Rice is on their board of Directors. So I guess the answer to your question, at least for me, is that it depends on the individual circumstances.

jimlynch
Vote Up (4)

I did some commentary about this, it's a tough topic. I'd like to say it shouldn't matter but it does since they represent the company or organization.

Did Brendan Eich do the right thing by resigning as Mozilla’s CEO?
http://eyeonlinux.com/career/did-brendan-eich-do-the-right-thing-by-step...

"I have mixed feelings about his resignation and I’m not sure it was a good thing for him, Mozilla or the gay community. It might have been better to engage with him, educate him about why same sex marriage matters, and help him understand why it is so important to the gay community. By forcing him to resign that opportunity has been removed or at least made less potentially valuable.

I don’t know Brendan Eich personally, but I would have been very interested in finding out exactly why he made that contribution. What motivated him? What was going through his head? Was it fear? Religious beliefs? Or something else? We will probably never know now, and I find that to be very unfortunate indeed. It’s very hard to build a bridge to someone when you don’t know why they have a particular point of view."

Ask a question

Join Now or Sign In to ask a question.
They don't speaking the same language, bicker about the tech budget and argue over who should take ownership of mobile apps.
Linux’s creator goes on another epic rant
As a result of the confluence of disruptors such as cloud technology, mobile, social media, and big data and analytics, organizations today are rethinking their IT infrastructure from the ground up -- and it's not just IT architects and data center leaders involved.
$5/month or $30/month gets you discounts on new titles as well as access to a sub-set of EA's Xbox One back catalog.
In response to a query from Vint Cerf, professional developers explain why they don’t feel a membership in the Association for Computing Machinery is worth the cost
The venerable GNU compiler wins the ACM’s Programming Languages Software Award while simultaneously coming under fire from the Linux creator
The company and the buyer, Globalfoundaries, are too far apart on price, but the deal is not dead yet.
In happier news, next week your PS4 will be able to play 3D Blu-rays, and why that matters.
Be sure to show your sysadmin how much you appreciate him or her today - but keep it sane
Customer experience experts share their tips on how businesses can keep customers happy and coming back for more.
Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

randomness