Nonetheless, in the mid-1990s, the idea that corporations should be concerned only with making as much profit as possible was so much conventional wisdom that Bill Clinton could say in a radio speech: “The most fundamental responsibility of all.” business is to make a profit. ”This view is shared by the public, according to polls.
In the 2000s, however, some former supporters of the shareholder value movement began to have doubts. Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001, called it a stupid idea. As he said The Financial Time in 2009, “At first glance, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world. Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy… Your main customers are your employees, your customers and your products.
In 2018, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment fund, expressed concern that the profit-at-any-cost model of companies was creating excessive social costs, especially for the environment. , unsustainable. He pledged to use the voting rights of the trillions of dollars in shares he controlled to improve corporate social responsibility.
In August 2019, the Business Roundtable, an organization representing America’s largest corporations, issued a statement calling on all businesses to take greater responsibility to ensure that the interests of every stakeholder are reflected in corporate policy. the company. The statement also said shareholders are not only concerned with short-term profits, but also long-term profitability, and that too much focus on the former could hurt the latter.