Scrupuli

blunt essays with sharp points

Howard Schultz of Starbucks: firm on support for marriage equality

by Scrvpvlvs
Apr 9, 2013 1:29 AM–Tom Strobhar buys small quantities of stocks for the privilege of making regressive statements at shareholders meetings. He made a statement opposing corporate support for marriage equality at the March 20, 2013 Starbucks shareholder meeting. Howard Schultz, CEO, gave the response for Starbucks.

Starbucks has video of this exchange at investor.starbucks.com. Note: access requires registration. If you look closely at the frame below, you can get quite a good sense of Mr Strobhar’s demeanor.

Inaccurate excerpts from this exchange have been widely circulated. What follows is an accurate transcript of the entire exchange. Corrections are welcome.

[2:23:35 Begin transcript]

STROBHAR

[Unintelligible] Schultz, my name is Tom Strobhar. I’m in the investment business. I’m also a longtime shareholder. And to paraphrase Mr. Lincoln: that’s two scores and two years ago our company was founded. Until January a year ago, we existed without making gay marriage a core value of our company. [Unintelligible] we did quite well.

At last year’s annual meeting I asked you if it was prudent to risk the economic interests of all the shareholders, possibly jobs of our partners, for something that would benefit the private lives of a small number of our employees. You responded a couple things: one, indicating that the sales and earnings, the stock price, which then was near record highs, seemed to vindicate that decision, and that, two, you respect other people’s opinion on this subject, and I appreciate that.

Unfortunately, after last year’s annual meeting, the National Organization for Marriage called for a boycott of our company. It’s my understanding that something like tens of thousands of people signed on to this particular boycott, and in the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings, shall we say politely, were a bit disappointing. Now was it all due to this boycott? Probably not. Was some of it due to this boycott? Probably so. Our stock value in a couple of days dropped about six or seven billion dollars, and about thirteen billion dollars from its high. And though we did well on a calendar year basis in two thousand and twelve, if you look back twelve months from this date a year ago our stock’s up about six percent, the S&P five hundred is up about eleven or twelve percent.

SCHULTZ

What is your question?

STROBHAR

My question is this, and this is a really specific one: you also say—you've mentioned civility, and you've written about civility—

SCHULTZ

I want the question, sir.

STROBHAR

My question is this. A human rights campaign which calls everybody a hater and a bigot if they disagree on marriage, which is very hurtful and it’s designed to silence people. When will you stop funding, as Starbucks does to the tune of ten thousand dollars a year, an organization that uses the most uncivil language in the most direct way?

SCHULTZ

And I welcome that question as I did last year. Because not every decision is an economic decision.

Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38 percent shareholder return over the last year. I don’t know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things—companies, products, investments—have returned 38 percent over the last twelve months.

Having said that, it is not an economic decision for me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity: of all kinds.

[Speaking over fifteen seconds of cheers and applause:] If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You could sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much. [Cheers and applause.]

[2:27:00 End transcript.]

Makes you want to go out and buy a cup of coffee.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

(go to complete article)

Share:

2 comments

about.me

Follow

feed

E-mail: enter address

Project Euler competitor metaed

vs.

Project Euler competitor db8

profile for MetaEd on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

Recent Articles

Spybot – Search & Destroy interferes with Lync 201...

A moment of silence

Rondeau

Howard Schultz of Starbucks: firm on support for m...

In each of us, two natures are at war

Clorox does not understand how to measure bleach

This season’s pie recipe

Adamah

Parting

Falling In Love

Archives

November 1999
June 2000
July 2000
September 2001
October 2001
February 2002
March 2002
June 2003
February 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
February 2005
March 2005
November 2005
July 2007
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
April 2009
September 2009
December 2009
February 2010
March 2010
May 2010
June 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
April 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
December 2011
February 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
November 2012
January 2013
February 2013
April 2013
February 2014
May 2014
October 2014