Top US CEOs rethink the meaning of shareholder value

19 Août, 2019, 23:20 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • America's CEOs channel Elizabeth Warren: Businesses must serve more than one master

One of the most influential United States business lobby groups has abandoned its central ethos that the interests of shareholders should always come first - in a reversal of the rules that have driven U.S. capitalism for decades.

Is the objective of a company to enrich shareholders by maximizing profit?

Since the 1970s, the Business Roundtable, which primarily functions as a lobbying organization, has periodically issued principles of corporate governance that detailed how a company should operate.

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The change comes amid mounting political criticism of corporations, led by United States politicians including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders who have highlighted rising corporate profits and executive pay at a time of stagnating wages. The former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz has said the United States faces a "crisis of capitalism" and called for higher taxes on the wealthy.

"Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity", said the statement signed by 181 CEOs. "We believe the free-market system is the best means of generating good jobs, a strong and sustainable economy, innovation, a healthy environment and economic opportunity for all".

The perception that the American dream is out of reach for many people is a powerful narrative that has altered the political landscape ahead of the 2020 presidential election. "We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country". 19, that its new statement on "the goal of a corporation" emphasizes that all stakeholders are important, which includes workers, suppliers, customers and the communities their businesses are in.

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