US CEOs Poised to Join Black Peers in Voting Rights Push: WSJ Demonstrators protest outside of the Capitol building in opposition of House Bill 531 on March 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Megan Varner/Getty)
Bloomberg Sunday, 11 April 2021 04:37 PM
A consortium of chief executive officers and other leaders of major U.S. corporations is set to push for greater voting access amid new restrictions enacted or pending in Georgia, Texas and other states, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Kenneth Chenault, the former chief at American Express Co., and Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of Merck & Co., urged people on a Zoom call this weekend to sign a statement to be published as soon as this week, opposing what they say are discriminatory voting laws, the newspaper reported, citing people who participated in the call that it didn’t identify.
Some participants called recent and pending changes to voting laws discriminatory and racist, and others said efforts to oppose the various Republican-led bills were crucial to democracy, according to the Journal.
Chenault told executives on the call that leaders at PepsiCo Inc., PayPal Holdings Inc., T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Hess Corp. have signaled they would join the effort, according to newspaper. Yale School of Management professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld hosted the meeting.
The call followed a recent open letter from Chenault and Frazier signed by dozens of Black executives calling for corporations to take more action against voting rights legislation being advanced by Republicans in more than 40 states. Critics say the changes are aimed chiefly at limiting participation of ethnic-minority Americans.
Companies from Coca-Cola Co. to Delta Air Lines Inc. to Microsoft Corp. have condemned a wave of new voting restrictions.
The efforts have drawn rebukes from top Republican lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who warned on April 5 that, “Our private sector must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex.”