Pep­sico, Star­bucks CEOs call for in­clu­sion

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

NEW YORK: Chief ex­ec­u­tives from Pep­sico and Star­bucks on Thurs­day called for a re­newed com­mit­ment to in­clu­sion fol­low­ing a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign that ex­posed ra­cial and eth­nic fault lines in the US. Pep­sico chief ex­ec­u­tive In­dra Nooyi, who backed Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton, said she hoped Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump’s con­tro­ver­sial state­ments on im­mi­grants and mi­nori­ties dur­ing the elec­tion bat­tle were “just cam­paign rhetoric”.

“Our em­ploy­ees, es­pe­cially our em­ploy­ees who are non-white or who are LGBT, are ask­ing, ‘Are we safe?’” said Nooyi, who was born in In­dia. “The first thing we have to do is as­sure every­one in the US that every­one is safe.” Star­bucks chief ex­ec­u­tive Howard Schultz, who also backed Clin­ton, be­moaned the “vit­ri­olic” na­ture of the cam­paign and said he was disturbed by some of the af­ter-ef­fects. “One has to be concerned with what’s hap­pened over the last few months and even over the last 24 hours,” he said. “We’ve seen things that are very dis­turb­ing. I saw a pic­ture to­day of a swastika. It’s dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand.” The re­marks came at the New York Times Deal­book con­fer­ence, held less than 48 hours af­ter Trump’s shock win in the bat­tle for the White House. Elec­tion re­turns showed Trump won large ma­jori­ties with white vot­ers, but badly lagged Clin­ton with mi­nor­ity groups. So­cial media on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day re­counted cases of im­mi­grants and mi­nori­ties fac­ing big­otry in schools and stores. Thou­sands of anti-Trump pro­test­ers took to about 10 cities, some car­ry­ing signs de­claim­ing “Not our Pres­i­dent” and “Love trumps hate.” Nooyi con­grat­u­lated Trump, but sug­gested he needs to set a much more in­clu­sive tone. She also ex­pressed dis­gust with Trump’s ex­cuses fol­low­ing a leaked 2005 video in which the pres­i­dent-elect spoke lewdly about women. In the clip, Trump de­scribed grop­ing and forc­ing him­self on women in vul­gar, preda­tory lan­guage. “How dare we talk about women that way?” Nooyi said. “I don’t think there’s a place for that kind of talk, not in a locker room, not any­where,” she said. “If we don’t nip this in the bud, it’s go­ing to take over our so­ci­ety.”

Schultz said he was shocked by the elec­tion re­sult and that it re­flects “years and years of a great many peo­ple in Amer­ica feel­ing they’ve been left be­hind.” Star­bucks briefly got into a tiff with Trump in late 2015 af­ter the Repub­li­can mogul sug­gested the cof­fee chain should be boy­cotted over bright red hol­i­day cups that con­tained no ex­plicit Christ­mas im­agery. Some evan­gel­i­cals viewed the cups as an­tiChris­tian. Schultz said he was baf­fled by the flap. “Ev­ery now and then you wake up and you say, ‘What?’” Schultz said. “The irony is we had our best Christ­mas ever and our busi­ness went up, so I thank him.” The Star­bucks chief did not rule out a run for pub­lic of­fice, but said he has no in­ter­est in serv­ing in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion. “I don’t think that’s for me,” he said.

In­dra Nooyi

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