Fortune: America’s CEOs seek a new purpose for the corporation

Fortune, August 19, 2019: America’s CEOs seek a new purpose for the corporation

On Aug. 19, the Business Roundtable announced a new purpose for the corporation and tossed the old one into the dustbin. The new statement is 300 words long, and shareholders aren’t mentioned until word 250. Before that, the group refers to creating “value for customers,” “investing in employees,” fostering “diversity and inclusion,” “dealing fairly and ethically with suppliers,” “supporting the communities in which we work” and “protect[ing] the environment.”

The new statement is the result of a yearlong reexamination that began with a testy dinner attended by a group of journalistic critics and involving a comprehensive survey of CEOs, academics, NGOs and political leaders. “It has been a journey,” says Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky, who chaired the effort. But it was a necessary journey because “people are asking fundamental questions about how well capitalism is serving society.”

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