Starbucks CEO Tells Shareholder to Sell Shares Over Gay Marriage Stand

Saturday, 23 Mar 2013 10:57 PM

By Greg Richter

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“It’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company,” CEO Howard Schultz told a shareholder opposed to the company’s stand for same-sex marriage this week.

The shareholder, Tom Strobhar, founder of Corporate Morality Action Center, told Schultz he opposes the company’s stand and believes it is hurting its stock price, the Daily Mail reports.

Shultz, a longtime supporter of same-sex marriage, said he would back a gay marriage bill in Washingon, the home state of Starbucks. That move prompted a boycott by the National Association for Marriage.

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“In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” Strobhar told Shultz at the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting this week.

“It is not an economic decision,” Shultz responded. “'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.”

“Starbucks’ earnings, while strongly positive, came in below analysts’ estimates and even below Starbucks’ own guidance,” Strobhar writes on the Corporate Morality Action Center’s blog. He says Starbucks’ stock declined more than 10 percent after the announcement, “giving Starbucks its worst one-day loss in over a decade.”

“Maybe Mr. Schultz should sit down, have a barista serve up a five-dollar caffeinated concoction, and remember what it was that put him in this position: selling coffee, not re-defining marriage,” Strobhar writes.


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