What can go wrong when businesses speak up on social issues

Opinion: Commenting on protests and referendums may seem like the right thing for a CEO to do, but it can get complicated fast.

by Stuart Thomson

Management Today recent posed the question: Should CEOs - or the companies they run - publicly express political beliefs?

The reality is that the two are rarely easily distinguishable. There is not an executive equivalent of the ‘RTs are not endorsements’ notes that appear on Twitter profiles. If a CEO makes a statement then it applies to the company as well.

But just consider the alternative. If a CEO statement says ‘I am speaking in a personal capacity’ then that just opens up more questions and could inflict more reputational damage. Does that mean it doesn’t apply to the company? If the suggestion is that the company wouldn’t endorse the position, then why not?  

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