“Not every decision is an economic decision.” –Howard Schultz
At last week’s annual shareholders meeting, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz had a testy exchange with an investor who questioned whether it was a wise decision to support marriage equality. The shareholder argued the company’s stance prompted a customer boycott, which led to disappointing earnings.
Apparently a 38 percent return isn’t good enough for Tom Strobhar.
How Schultz handled Strobhar’s question is nothing short of ballsy, and amazing, and his return was a thunderous applause when he said this:
“The lens we use to make decisions is the lens of our people. We want to embrace diversity … If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”
Watch the video, courtesy of Towleroad, and check out the rousing shareholder acceptance of his take-no-guff message:
So that’s what being a good corporate citizen is like, eh? Strange!
Starbucks, it should be noted however, is not the anti-Chick-fil-A, as many are saying on Twitter. This is, in actuality, the same exact thing Chick-fil-A is doing, only on the other side of the issue. Both companies are putting money where their mouths are — only one, though, will be on the right side of history.
Drink up, folks.