By Alan Murray and Tom Huddleston Jr.
August 21, 2017

Good morning.

The New York Times this weekend discovered CEOs have a moral voice. In a piece on the front of the Sunday business section, David Gelles quotes from last week’s statements by Mary Barra, Jamie Dimon, and Ken Frazier as well as Marc Benioff and Howard Schultz, and cites “notable and new kinds of pressure from within—from employees who expect or encourage their company to stake out positions on numerous controversial social or economic causes, and from board members concerned with reputational issues.”

The upshot: “While companies are naturally designed to be moneymaking enterprises, they are adapting to meet new social and political expectations in sometimes startling ways.”

This was the topic we discussed with the roughly 100 CEOs who attended last year’s FORTUNE + TIME Global Forum at the Vatican, which opened with a discussion of “The Moral Imperative of Modern Leadership.”

“In rapid order, the world has not just changed, I think it has dramatically been reshaped. It operates differently,” Dov Seidman told the December gathering. “And I think it has been reshaped faster than we have reshaped ourselves, our institutions, our businesses and our leadership.” For a number of reasons—socially conscious millennials being one, the closeness created by social media another, and the failure of political leadership a third—the pressure on CEOs to assume positions of moral leadership has become intense. (You can watch last year’s discussion here.)

We will be continuing that discussion in New York on September 25, with the launch of The CEO Initiative, focusing on efforts companies are making to address social problems as a core part of their strategy. As my friend Alan Fleischmann told the Times: “For a long time, corporate social responsibility was a buzzword marketing tool, walled off within an organization. Now, it has to be central for the CEO, part of their everyday responsibility and leadership.”

Among the CEOs joining us in September: J.P. Morgan’s Dimon, Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi, Monsanto’s Hugh Grant, Hyatt’s Mark Hoplamazian, Allstate’s Tom Wilson, Siemens’ Joe Kaeser, and Mastercard’s Ajay Banga. You can find the full list of participants, and more information, here.

News below.

Alan Murray



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