Published: Mon, August 21, 2017
Money | By Charlene Sutton

How Trump's business councils imploded

Following Frazier, Krzanich, and Plank's decision to leave the council, SumOfUs, a global consumer group, is calling on other CEOs serving Trump's business and manufacturing councils to follow suit, and slamming the President for tweeting in retribution. Grandstanders should not have gone on.

After his remarks, a fifth member of his manufacturing panel resigned: AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who said in a statement, "We can not sit on a council for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism". Plank stated that he is quitting because his athletic wear company engages in innovation and sports and not politics.

Merck CEO Kenneth, one of only four African-Americans leading a Fortune 500 company, was the first to tender his resignation Monday.

Frazier, who grew up in a poor neighbourhood in Philadelphia, resigned from the manufacturing advisory council days after one person was killed and others wounded in violent clashes between white supremacists and protesters.

"JOBS!" Trump tweeted, moments before Paul announced his decision.

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There are several dozen executives on the council, which was formed in January to help the Trump administration create USA manufacturing jobs. Now some of those same business leaders are turning on President Trump.

The reasoning echoed other executives who resigned from Trump's councils earlier this year.

"It certainly appears to be a strategic maneuver from [Kevin] Plank [Under Armour CEO] and [Brian] Krzanich [Intel CEO] to announce their departure later in the evening when people are looking to relax and stray away from news updates", noted Kellan Terry, Brandwatch's PR data manager.

CEOs of major USA corporations continue to jump ship from President Trump's Manufacturing Council in response to the president's rather belated and lackluster prepared response to the turmoil in Charlottesville that led to the death of Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer, age 32, and the injury of 20 others by James Alex Fields Jr.

Nick Donatiello, a lecturer on governance topics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, feels that CEOs who are quitting for various reasons should have anticipated Trump's policies and attitudes because they were never hidden.

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Trump was fast to fire back at Frazier, chiding him on Twitter over high drug prices.

He then went on to talk about race relations and the violence in Virginia, placing partial blame on demonstrators protesting a gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville. Frazier also said in his statement, "America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal".

On June 1, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk dropped out following Trump's decision to withdraw the USA from the Paris climate accord. CEO, was also a member of the strategy council and said he supported the breakup. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, left both of the aforementioned councils in June after the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Agreement regarding climate change.

While it saw some early successes, with companies like Ford and Foxconn announcing the construction of large new factories in the U.S., as Trump's leadership erodes, this agenda could be put under pressure.

At an early meeting with pharmaceutical companies, Frazier sat at Trump's side.

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