EY CEO Mark Weinberger has his first big meeting as part of President Trump’s business advisory council this Friday and it promises to be…interesting. That’s because some executives on the council have expressed concerns and others outright rebukes of the executive order banning refugees and immigrants from seven countries. Weinberger opted to play it safe with his statement and that’s too bad.
Business Insider reports that Weinberger emailed EY employees yesterday about the ban and a version of his remarks appears on BI:
“The Executive Order issued by President Trump last week to re-evaluate the US visa issuance process and US Refugee Admission Program will have an impact on our ability to work as a globally connected organization. We communicated yesterday to all of EY’s quarter of a million people around the world that we are working through the implications of this order and stand ready to assist any impacted employees.
“We also restated our commitment to being globally connected and to supporting our EY people around the world. The strength of EY lies in our people, values and culture, all of which are built on a foundation of respect for all individuals. We have worked hard as an organization to build a culture that values differences across all backgrounds, geographies and faiths. This commitment to a diverse and inclusive culture remains steadfast. It gives confidence to all our people that they belong as part of our EY family.
“Efforts to strengthen national security, which underlie the Executive Order, are important and must be balanced with the commitment to being an open and free country that recognizes, and cherishes, the value of all people, including immigrants. That is the only certain way to achieve sustainable economic and physical security. We need to work together to achieve this balance and have a productive dialogue, informed by what we are hearing around the world. We commit to engage fully in this dialogue.
Much like Tim Ryan’s statement and Cathy Engelbert’s to Bloomberg, Weinberger’s is carefully worded and does not oppose the executive order outright. It’s not surprising that none of these statements fail to explicitly oppose the policy, but that doesn’t make it any less spineless.
These firms have all the clout and influence an organization needs to take whatever public position they want, including opposing this one, with impunity. There’s virtually no risk to them coming out against the ban. Look what happened when Jim Turley spoke out against the Boy Scouts exclusion of gay members. He was commended for his stand and the BSA ended up changing its policy.
No company is going to fire any of these firms for taking a stand for their employees. There won’t be any cries of #boycottEY flooding social media. A Trump tirade won’t send down PwC’s stock price because there is no stock price.
Overall, this is a weak response from the Big 4 on an issue that they could own. It’s pretty pathetic.