As a person who is both a maker, taker, consumer, and investor, I am confused by the CEO as political celebrity. Me, I would like all the CEOs of companies that I invest in to, simply, stay quiet about their politics, unlike Wholefood CEO John Mackey. Do not give people a reason to boycott the products or services that my investments are producing, thank you very much. You want to run for office? Fine. You are entitled in this great nation of ours to hold public office.
Aristotle may have said that man is a political animal, and he’s right, and there are markets for political ideas, too, don’t get me wrong. But given a choice between simply buying a) whole-bean coffee versus b) buying whole bean coffee despite/because of the political stance of the company’s reps, I strongly suspect that a) appeals to the bigger consumer base of both conservatives and liberals. Using your company as platform from which to launch your political celebrity strikes me as bumping up against the borders of business ethics. While you are on salary from a company, aren’t you meant to put the company’s interests before your own desire to sell books?
There are some businesses for whom the nature of the product is wrapped up in symbolism–flags, peace t-shirts, etc. And some are difficult to boycott: JB Hunt had well-known political ideas, but it is hard to boycott logistics companies. But not coffee. Or loaves of bread. Or salmon filets. In those cases, errrbody’s money is green. And you can offend liberal or conservative buys with political celebrity. Right?
Is there anybody writing about this idea of celebrity CEO’s? I would like to know about it, if so.