America’s CEOs weren’t very happy with president Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate deal on Thursday. While the president argued that the move would benefit job creation and the economy, his critics claim the decision had much to do with his campaign promises to the coal industry.
CEOs Quit President’s Advisory Council
Trump pledged to renegotiate the agreement in the future, but the U.S. businesses were displeased with the announcement. Tesla and SpaceX’s founder and CEO Elon Musk was so disgruntled that he resigned from the presidential advisory council. The SpaceX boss confirmed his decision on Twitter Thursday.
Disney’s chief executive Bob Iger joined Musk in leaving the council “as a matter of principle”. General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra did not comment on the move, but the company announced that she would retain her seat in the council. Blackstone’s boss Stephen Schwarzman will not resign either.
IBM announced its CEO Ginny Rometty would not leave the President’s council. The tech firm added that they hope for a “constructive contribution” and a dialogue with the White House.
The news about Trump’s withdrawal from the accord prompted Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein to send out his first tweet in seven years. Blankfein described the president’s decision as a “setback” for the climate change fight and the U.S.’s standing in the world.
General Electric’s chief executive Jeff Immelt, who doesn’t sit on the council, said he was ‘disappointed’ with the exit from the Paris agreement. He urged the industry to “lead” and rely less on the government.
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai also expressed disappointment and pledged for the web search giant to put more effort in a “cleaner, more prosperous future for all.” Salesforce.com’s CEO Mark Benioff noted he was “deeply disappointed” by the president’s move. He vowed to double the efforts to fight global warming.
Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella agrees climate change is a thorny issue that needs to be addressed via global action. “We remain committed to doing our part,” the Microsoft executive tweeted.
Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey flooded his account with retweets supporting the Paris climate agreement.
CEOs That Had Urged Trump to Stay
Before the exit, many CEO’s had urged the president to remain. Following Trump’s decision, America joins Russia, Syria, and Nicaragua as the world’s few states that rejected the agreement.
Meanwhile, a large group of business leaders signed a joint letter urging the president to remain. Signatories included Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moynihan, Procter & Gamble’s CEO David Taylor, GE’s CEO Immelt, Campbell Soup’s Denise Morrison, Goldman Sachs’s Lloyd C. Blankfein, Harris Corporation’s William Brown, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman, and the list goes on. As a critic noted, those are not a “tree-hugger group.”
In an CNBC interview, HP’s chief executive tried to convince the president to remain as a withdrawal would not be “in the best interest of Americans”. ExxonMobil’s current and former CEOs – Darren Woods and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, respectively – had also urged Trump to stay.
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