Dozens of executives and other senior leaders gathered on Zoom this weekend to figure out what some of the big businesses said to do next about the new voting law being enforced at Texas and other states.
Kenneth Chenault, former CEO of American Express Co., and Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co., called on leaders to call collectively for greater voting power, according to some attendees. Messrs. Chenault and Frazier warned businesses not to drop the issue and asked CEOs to sign a statement opposing what they see as discrimination laws on voting, they said.
A statement could be made earlier this week, these people said, and will build on a statement signed by 72 Black executives. last month following changes to Georgia’s voting law. Mr. Chenault told executives during the call that a number of leaders signaled they would sign, including executives at PepsiCo Inc., PayPal Holdings Inc., T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Hess Corp., among others, according to people. PayPal confirms that they have signed the statement. PepsiCo, T. Rowe Price and Hess did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
As more companies and their leaders have voiced the issue in recent weeks, their stance has angered federal and Republican lawmakers, who say companies are mispredicting the problem and shouldn’t act like dark lawmakers. Meanwhile, progressive activists and others opposing the law say the actions the leaders are taking are not strong enough. Executive advisers say many CEOs now feel a responsibility or pressure to disclose their views to employees and others.
Many companies remain wary of hacking political field. An executive from a Fortune 100 consumer products company said board members, employees, and suppliers are urging leaders to speak up, but doing so could prompt the company to speak up. attention.
“It was really an unprofitable situation from the company’s point of view,” said the CEO.