The CEO as The Figurehead

The boss is sometimes more than just the boss.

CNNMoney published an article discussing the fact that some Chairman Executive Officers of late have become increasingly influential, using their influence to make statements about public issues. While most companies do steer clear of controversial issues (an angered customer isn’t a good one), some companies, like Nike, Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks have been swinging some political heft. Starbucks in particular has been outspoken about both issues of unemployment and same-sex marriage. The article analyzes this trend and feels that this is the result of the business purpose of the CEO being conflated with a political role. Your humble author feels that this could have something to do with the fact that society is more connected now, and some CEOs are living personifications of their companies, like the late Steve Jobs was for Apple, or Meg Whitman for HP. Analysis (in CNNMoney’s article) goes on, suggesting that in some cases, championing such a political cause can make the company more attractive to talent in the field, citing Goldman’s advocation of same-sex marriage – talent is talent regardless of who they are. This represents a great advantage for recruitment, and in your humble author’s opinion, advancement for society.


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