EY CEO Mark Weinberger has received increased calls to quit the USA president Donald Trump’s strategy and policy forum over the USA president response, or lack of response, to the violence in Charlottesville.
The Trump administration has created advisory groups of high-profile executives in an effort to forge alliances with big businesses. But recently six executives have resigned from the American manufacturing council after President Trump’s response to the Charlottesville violence.
As of yet no member has resigned from the strategy and policy forum, of which Weinberger is a member, although three had previously left the forum after the president came out against the Paris climate accord.
Following a press conference by president Trump saying that both sides were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville and failing to condemn in the strongest possible terms neo-nazi, white supremacists groups, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier quit the president's American manufacturing council.
“America’s leaders must honour our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Frazier said in a tweeted statement.
EY on the other hand condemned the violence in a statement saying that Weinberger would remain on the advisory group.
In a tweet Weinberger said: "Bigotry and hatred have no place in our society. I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the tragic, deplorable acts that took place in Charlottesville this weekend. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those directly affected by the senseless actions, and the many, many more indirectly affected. With more than 42,000 people in the US and 250,000 people around the world, EY is proud to be an inclusive organization. Now is the time for business leaders and government to unite to ensure we become stronger through our differences."
At the time of writing, this was met by 31 replies, most of whom criticised it as a wishy washy statement written by the PR team. One twitter user asked Weinberger to “man up and actually take some action rather than publish weasel words”. A member of EY staff said: “As one of those 250,000 employees I’m asking you to #quitthecouncil.”
This followed on a post by Caleb Newquist on Goingconcern who called on Weinberger to quit the forum and invited his employees to tell him too.
Jim Peterson, former in-house lawyer and partner at Arthur Andersen, joined in the calls for Weinberger to quit the forum in a blog post saying “it should be a no brainer”.
“Not only do you have ample cover – at this writing there are already five other departures, led by Merck CEO Ken Frazier,” Peterson wrote. “Moreover, you’re practically immune from any threat of blowback from the bloviator-in-chief, because you and your Big Four colleagues have a lock on the world’s large-company market.”
Asked for further comment, EY sent International Accounting Bulletin the statement that had been tweeted.
This magazine pressed for further comment on the fact that the statement has been criticised for being hollow words and that Weinberger had been called out for not sticking to his own words to “back up rhetoric with action”, but at the time of publication we hadn’t received a response.