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Trump travel ban stirs faint corporate outcry beyond Silicon Valley

By Devika Krishna Kumar and Ross Kerber

NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) – Most U.S. corporate bosses have stayed silent on President Donald Trump’s immigration curbs, underscoring the sensitivities round opposing insurance policies that would provoke a backlash from the White House.

While the leaders of Apple Inc <APPL.O>, Google <GOOGL.O> and Facebook Inc <FB.O> emailed their employees to denounce the suspension of the U.S. refugee program and the halting of arrivals from seven Muslim-majority nations, lots of their counterparts in different industries both declined remark or responded with firm statements reiterating their dedication to variety.

The distinction in response exhibits the strain giant swathes of corporate America faces to keep away from tussling publicly with the brand new administration.

Companies similar to plane maker Boeing Co <BA.N> and automakers Ford Motor Co <F.N> and General Motors Co <GM.N> have already had run-ins with Trump over different issues, they usually have a lot at stake in coverage selections that the administration will make on tax, commerce and regulatory issues.

Before workplace, Trump attacked Boeing over the price of the longer term Air Force One program. Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg met with him earlier this month and stated he and Trump had made progress on the Air Force One situation and the potential sale of fighter plane.

Representatives from Boeing, General Motors and Ford declined to touch upon Trump’s immigration curbs.

Wall Street, in the meantime, is hoping the brand new administration will ease a number of the laws launched within the wake of the 2007-08 monetary disaster and undertake a lighter contact of their enforcement.

Industries together with banking, healthcare and auto manufacturing “see themselves on the cusp of a new era of deregulation, and they do not want to do anything that would offend the new emperor,” stated Cornelius Hurley, director of Boston University’s Center for Finance, Law & Policy.

Trump had focused each the tech business and Wall Street throughout his presidential marketing campaign, however as soon as elected, he tapped former funding bankers, hedge fund managers and personal fairness buyers to hitch his administration.

With buddies in excessive locations, Wall Street might have much less purpose to be as outspoken concerning the new restrictions.

“Bankers have direct access to this White House,” stated Erik Gordon, who teaches on the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “They don’t have to protest publicly.”

Representatives of Goldman Sachs Group Inc <GS.N>, Citigroup Inc <C.N>, Bank of America Corp <BAC.N> and Morgan Stanley <MS.N> declined to touch upon Trump’s immigration order.

Wells Fargo & Co <WFC.N> stated in a press release that it was reviewing the chief order and its implications for workers and its enterprise.

JPMorgan Chase & Co’s <JPM.N> Operating Committee, which incorporates CEO Jamie Dimon, despatched a observe to employees saying it was reaching out to all staff affected and famous that the nation was, “strengthened by the rich diversity of the world around us.”

To make sure, some CEOs have been extra outspoken.

Nike Inc <NKE.N> CEO Mark Parker stated the corporate didn’t help the chief order.

“Nike believes in a world where everyone celebrates the power of diversity,” he stated in a press release. “Those values are being threatened by the recent executive order in the U.S. banning refugees, as well as visitors, from seven Muslim-majority countries.”

Brent Saunders, CEO of U.S. drugmaker Allergan Plc <AGN.N>, tweeted: “Oppose any policy that puts limitations on our ability to attract the best & diverse talent.”

But many boardrooms stored quiet. Representatives for some power corporations, together with Exxon Mobil Corp <XOM.N>, for instance, declined to remark.


As the thought of corporate social duty has taken root, so corporations have more and more championed a variety of causes, together with homosexual rights, numerous workplaces and a worldwide view.

Many in corporate America are nonetheless making an attempt to work out easy methods to cope with a brand new authorities that takes a extra conservative stance on some social issues and has an anti-globalization platform.

Those non-tech corporations that did concern statements over the weekend tended to emphasise their position nearly as good corporate residents fairly than brazenly criticize Trump’s insurance policies.

Starbucks Corp <SBUX.O> CEO Howard Schultz has put the espresso chain within the nationwide highlight earlier than, asking clients to not convey weapons into shops and urging conversations on race relations.

In a letter to staff, he stated Starbucks was creating plans to rent 10,000 refugees over 5 years throughout dozens of nations, however he didn’t immediately criticize Trump’s order.

“I am hearing the alarm you all are sounding that the civility and human rights we have all taken for granted for so long are under attack,” he wrote.

In his assertion, General Electric Co <GE.N> CEO Jeff Immelt advised employees that the corporate would interact with the U.S. authorities.

“We will continue to make our voice heard with the new administration and Congress, and reiterate the importance of this issue to GE and to the business community overall,” he wrote.

One of probably the most fast methods for corporate bosses to speak with Trump concerning the immigration order would be the first assembly of his advisory panel of enterprise leaders subsequent week.

Of the 19 leaders on that panel, solely two, Elon Musk, who based Tesla Motors Inc <TSLA.O> and SpaceX, and Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], have spoken out towards Trump’s immigration curbs.

A spokeswoman for Stephen Schwarzman, the billionaire chief government of Blackstone Group LP <BX.N> whom Trump tasked to arrange and chair the panel, declined to remark.

(Additional reporting by Olivia Oran, Dan Freed, Lauren Hirsch, Lawrence Delevingne and Gui Qing Koh in New York, Joe White in Detroit and David Shepardson in Washington; Writing by Carmel Crimmins; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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