Earlier this week, Starbucks held their annual shareholders meeting and it seems that not all of their investors are on board with the company’s rather public and highly liberal political maneuvering. In a rather embarrassing turn of events, one attendee had the temerity to stand up and ask questions about not only security concerns and fiscal realities, but the obvious change of tone between the last administration and this one. (Yahoo)
At the Starbucks annual shareholder meeting, one investor, Justin Danhof from the National Center for Public Policy Research, expressed frustration with the company’s vow to hire 10,000 refugees in response to President Trump’s travel ban order.
Danhof questioned why CEO Howard Schultz heart wasn’t “heavy” when the Obama administration’s State Department in 2011 stopped processing visas for six months for refugees from Iraq.
Mr. Danhof raises some interesting points from the perspective of the only people who can actually apply any leverage to a corporation of that size… the investors. The first had to do with the practical, hard realities of economics. If the United States government admits that they can barely afford the time and money to vet refugees, how much was this going to cost Starbucks and how would it affect the bottom line? That one elicited a round of boos from other attendees who are apparently well enough off that they don’t need to worry about the value of their stock.
The second question was less directly related to the bottom line as it was to issues of hypocrisy.
[W]hy were you willing to have Starbucks reputation take a beating by attacking President Trump’s executive order when you lacked the courage to speak out against Obama/Clinton travel ban.”
The coffee giant’s CEO provided an answer which should have left everyone in the room with no question about where the leadership was taking them (and their investment). He simply insisted that their policies were about “compassion, not politics” and spoke to their “core beliefs.” But when it comes to matters of deportation and refugees, there is virtually no difference between what the Trump administration is doing now and how things were handled during similar periods of unrest while Barack Obama was in office. Where was all of the compassion then?
There’s no answer forthcoming from Starbucks on that score. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the company management is heavily politicized and happy to keep quiet and make a buck when Democrats are in charge. But should the GOP dare to win an election, it’s war. And if their customer satisfaction ratings are anything to judge by, Mr. Schultz is more concerned with his image than the investors’ bottom line. In 2008 they had the highest rating imaginable. By the first couple of months of this year those numbers had plunged.