3 CEOs quit Trump council in 1 day: What leaders face in making that decision

Following Merck CEO Kevin Frazier's departure from the American Manufacturing Council, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank also left the council Monday, according to The New York Times.

Mr. Frazier stepped down from President Donald Trump's council "as a matter of personal conscience" in the wake of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va, after which Mr. Trump delivered a tepid response that blamed "many sides" for the day's violence.

Executives who sit on any of the president's councils face a difficult decision when it comes to deciding whether or not their appointments on these councils act as tacit approval of presidential statements or policies. Some, like Mr. Frazier, have resigned in protest of Mr. Trump's actions. His departure did not go unnoticed, however.

Within an hour after the Merck corporate Twitter account announced Mr. Frazier's resignation from the council, President Trump tweeted: "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!" Mr. Trump tweeted again about Merck, this time focusing on its business practices: "@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!" Finally, Mr. Trump tweeted, "For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!"

New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin spoke to various CEOs about their participation on White House councils and what they are considering when making a decision to remain or abandon their post. He notes that many chiefs are privately outraged, but too scared to say anything publicly that could position them or their business as targets to the president's ire.

Another CEO says involvement on these councils should not hinge on the behavior of one person. Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Disney CEO Robert Iger both resigned from the president's business council following his exit from the Paris climate accords. However, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon believes that executives on these councils have a civic responsibility to the council's work that shouldn't be altered by presidential opinions. Mr. Dimon serves on the White House's Strategic and Policy Forum.

"It is very hard if you say, I'm going to go off an advisory group or not do A-B-C, because you disagree on one issue," Mr. Dimon said. "Honestly, no one is going to agree with every president or prime minister on every issue, so I don't want to overreact to it."

More Articles on Leadership:

Week in review: 11 biggest healthcare stories this week
The aftermath of the 'Google manifesto': 5 things to know
Pinnacle Dermatology's new CEO brings experience as CIO, CFO and CSO to new role

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars