DEAR CEOs

 “In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.”—Marianne Williamson [Emphasis mine]

“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.”—Buddha

It’s time to stop being mean to each other. (Yes, Congresswoman G., and Senator C., you know who I’m talking about.) It’s time to let the crazy go and move forward and accept everyone for who they are in the world and what they represent. Republicans need to step up as most of the Democrats have done and help the people they represent. They need to stop being bullies and stop the cult-like behavior for the good of the nation and for the good of the people.

CEOs also need to take heart and do the right thing. Although there are a few CEOs doing the right thing to help those less fortunate, there are still too many that make their stockholders richer. For example, instead of doing the right thing, on 2/4/21 Kroger closed two stores in Long Beach, CA instead of giving the workers hazardous pay ordered by the City Council, despite the fact that people stayed at the job during the worst of COVID and the company’s value increasing by 27%! Instead, they chose to give the profits to their shareholders, making them richer. It was a sad day for the little person

One good thing that came out of the pandemic was that CEOs and Board Members took up to 100% pay cuts to save their companies and keep employees in benefits, even though they had to furlough workers due to shut downs. Forty-Seven CEOs did step up last year. Here are a few examples:

  • The Walt Disney Company: The Walt Disney Company (DIS) announced that in response to the business challenges relating to COVID-19, each of the Company’s named executive officers agreed to receive a temporary reduction in their base salaries, effective with the payroll period commencing April 5, 2020. The Executive Chairman, and former Chief Executive Officer, of Walt Disney agreed to forego all of his compensation except a portion of his base salary.
  • Burlington Stores, Inc.: Burlington’s CEO, Michael O’Sullivan, will not take a salary, while the company’s Board of Directors will forfeit their cash compensation, and the Company’s executive leadership team has voluntarily agreed to decrease their salary by 50%.
  • Comcast Corporation: Comcast Chief Brian Roberts, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell and other division leaders at Comcast will donate their salaries to coronavirus-related relief efforts as the world grapples with the devastating pandemic.
  • Fiserv Inc.: Fiserv Inc.’s top executives are taking temporary base salary pay cuts to compensate employees, who experience financial hardship due to the COVID-19. The Company disclosed that its Chairman & CEO, Jeffery Yabuki, and President & Chief Operating Officer, Frank Bisignano, have each agreed to forgo 100% of their base salary.
  • Wells Fargo & Company, Arconic, Inc., The Walt Disney Company, The Kraft Heinz Company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. have also implemented dividend cuts or changes due to COVID-19.

It’s a start, but we need to move forward. My question to these CEOs is this: Why don’t you re-invest your packaged deals back into the company, instead of running it into the ground and moving onto the next company? CEOs’ salaries are a fraction of their incentive packages. There needs to be some legislation or tax law that prohibits them from taking their gains out of the company and moving on to the next when their company fails. Employees will appreciate the effort company management puts into the company and will do a better job if they are paid more, or at least a livable wage.

On the positive side, COSTCO announced they would give employees $16.00 an hour to start. Their company is often cited as one of the world’s most ethical companies. It has been called a “testimony to ethical capitalism” in large part due to its company practices and treatment of employees. While Congress struggles with minimum wage issues, some companies are moving forward and giving their employees the money they need.

It is hard to say what will happen and what the future holds for our economy. How many companies will survive is unknown, but one this is certain in my humble opinion:

CEOs need to learn from the COSTCO model. They need to roll up their sleeves, re-invest their energy and time into their companies, and treat their employees so they have some dignity. They need to create and trust in their decisions to have a bigger picture, one where the employee feels better about the job. If employees feel better and safe in their jobs, they will more likely treat customers better, and more people will shop there.

I know we can make a change. We are a can-do nation now. We are slowly coming out of our cocoon and the new normal will emerge.

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