End of Shareholder Primacy, Part III: CEO Daily

Good morning.

My former colleagues at the Wall Street Journal editorial page launched a broadside against the Business Roundtable’s “stakeholder” policy yesterday. (See my story here, and the Journal’s riposte here.) Their argument, in a nutshell:

—A fuzzy commitment to multiple stakeholders could undermine financial discipline; and

—The move won’t appease left-wing politicians like Elizabeth Warren.

On the second point, I fully agree. I suspect most BRT CEOs would agree as well. They didn’t get their positions of power by being hopelessly naive.

On the first, it usually comes down to time horizons. There is an endless playbook of deleterious things companies can do to boost their profits in the short run: gut training programs, eliminate R&D, ignore product risk, scrimp on environmental protections, etc. But if you screw your employees, your customers and the communities in which they operate, you eventually screw yourself. In the long run, shareholder interests and stakeholder interests converge.

Worth noting the four CEOs who talked to me for this story—Jamie Dimon, Ginni Rometty, Mary Barra, and Alex Gorsky—each work for a company that’s been around for more than a century. None of those companies is without blemish. But they must be doing something right to outlast the competition.

More news below. And be sure to read Phil Wahba’s story about one CEO who is delivering financial results in spades: Target’s Brian Cornell. Under his leadership, Target has demonstrated how digital and brick and mortar go hand-in-hand, delivering comp sales results that have beaten Macy’s, Kohl’s and even Walmart over the last two years.

Alan Murray
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Read more: https://fortune.com/2019/08/21/end-of-shareholder-primacy-part-iii-ceo-daily/

From the Civil Rights Era to Hong Kong: How Airports Became a Global Symbol of Protest

Terminals of major airports are often stale and clinical. They usually show few signs of local culture and flavor, with an environment that feels wholly apart from the vibrant metropolises they serve. But then there are times when protesters descend, and they become exhibitions of a nation’s deep political divisions on full, raw display.

That’s precisely what played out in Hong Kong last week, as scores of demonstrators swarmed the world’s second-busiest air transport hub, staging protests so disruptive they forced the cancellation of flights on two consecutive days.

The Hong Kong protesters’ choice of venue was, of course, strategic.

“It is an excellent platform to reach out globally,” says Wong Ka Ying, an official from the Hong Kong Artist Union, which actively campaigned at Hong Kong International earlier this month. The demonstrators, who are vying for more freedoms, were not the first to make such a determination. Indeed, the actions in Hong Kong were the latest chapter in a tradition of airport protests that’s closely paralleled the democratization of flight.

From Greenville to Hong Kong

In the 1950s and 60s, as commercial flying grew in popularity, airports became a backdrop of the U.S. civil rights movement. Though perceived as outposts of a national aviation system, some airports in the South remained segregated even as airports in the North desegregated, says Christopher Schaberg, the author of three books on airports, and a professor at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Rev. Mccollough At Airport Protesthttps://fortune.com/2019/08/21/hong-kong-protest-airport-symbol/

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