CEOs start making nice: Know Trump can make life tough with his FCC appointees

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CEOs start making nice: Know Trump can make life tough with his FCC appointees


Category: Business News

Apple CEO Tim Cook is telling his employees to “keep moving forward.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is saying “progress does not move in a straight line.” T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere tweeted “let’s see what an out of the box, non-typical, non-politician can do for America!”

CEOs of major companies are taking stands about the results of the election – a departure from the traditional model of not mixing politics with business that major brands have long espoused.

Some are using it as an opportunity to bring their employees together following a divisive election campaign. Others are using it as an opportunity to stress their companies’ values and mission, or an opportunity to make nice with Trump, who many CEOs were publicly against during the campaign.

The men and women who head the nation’s biggest companies know that having a hostile relationship with the Trump administration could make doing business difficult. They also know that they operate in liberal bastions like New York and San Francisco just as much as in Trump-leaning places like Fort Wayne or Charleston, West Virginia.

“Neutral is the best policy,” says John Challenger, CEO of workplace consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

T-Mobile’s Legere, who long was vocally opposed to Trump, congratulated the president-elect on Twitter for his victory last week, while holding off on judging the president-elect’s policies. Meanwhile another telecommunications executive, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, himself an immigrant and personally opposed to Trump, sent an email to employees saying that “it’s our obligation to accept the will of our fellow Americans and respect the new leader.”

It’s possible that Legere and Claure made nice because the president appoints the chairman and commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission, an agency that holds enormous influence over the telecommunications industry. All five FCC commissioners will see their terms expire during Trump’s first term.

CEOs of automakers, including Ford’s Mark Fields, have also struck a conciliatory tone, partly because Trump has called for the repeal or renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has allowed the automakers to set up shop in Mexico tariff-free.

Many CEOs publicly expressed hope that the tensions dividing the country will diminish, and that American consumers will set aside their fears and get back to what they do best: shop.

“We are hoping that in the postelection we are just going to see people ready to spend,” said Marvin Ellison, CEO of J.C. Penney.

CEOs and companies that try to bring people together are “going to be the winners,” says Dr. Larry Chiagouris, a marketing professor at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. “That always works better from a brand perspective,” he says.

Wall Street, which donated heavily to Hillary Clinton, also now faces an administration that could provide both profit and peril.

Trump has said he wants to roll back some of the regulations in the Dodd-Frank law that was passed after the financial crisis, a move that would benefit big Wall Street banks. But the Republican Party’s platform also contains a provision calling for the return of the Glass-Steagall Act, a Great Depression-era law that broke up big banks.

Source: Journal Gazette