Here is the statement made today by Peter Flaherty, Chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, at the Salesforce shareholders’ meeting in support of the group’s proposal for an independent chair:
The owner of two more hotels — the Hilton San Francisco and the Parc 55 — is going to stop paying the mortgages, the latest step in a once-beautiful city’s descent into hell, brought about by the so-called progressive policies so favored by Marc Benioff (pictured above).
When the same person is both Chairman and CEO, that individual apparently feels less constrained to impose their personal political views on the whole company, as Mr. Benioff has done. Is there any destructive, left-wing initiative to which he hasn’t attached Salesforce’s name?
It may be true that it is easier to stop drinking Bud Light or shop at Target than it is to switch software systems. But that doesn’t mean the company is immune to the mounting fury over Corporate America’s alliance with anti-business activists and moral anarchists.
I’ve been a shareholder activist for 19 years. I’ve never seen anything like Salesforce. Consider that the ONLY outside proposals this year came from right-leaning shareholders.
In comparison, all the other major left-leaning Silicon Valley tech companies, which were STILL inundated with proposals from left-wing proponents.
I guess that Salesforce is completely occupied territory.
Benioff talks about “Equity.” But what is equitable or fair about forcing the Company’s shareholders, employees, business partners and customers to be part of causes with which they disagree that have nothing to do with the Company’s core business?
For years Mr. Benioff has had a phony “Co-CEO.” Clearly Bret Taylor and other top executives who fled Salesforce last year knew it was a charade.
In its proxy response, Salesforce’s board claims an independent chair practice “is out of line with industry and market practice.”
That is simply not true.
Only 43 percent of Chairs at S&P 500 companies in 2022 were the companies’ CEOs, down from 57 percent 11 years ago.
Salesforce’s Board also claims that its Lead Independent Director has new expanded responsibilities.
But once you read this director’s list of duties, the role sounds more like Lead Lap Dog.
We can make all the good corporate governance arguments that we want, but the crisis here is deeper.
The internet and what’s called the network effect have made possible vast personal fortunes for people like Mr. Benioff.
The Robber Barons of the Nineteenth Century would be impressed.
So what do Mr. Benioff and the other billionaires do about the people who hate capitalism, the people who might challenge the morality of them having all that wealth?
Well, you buy them off and embrace their causes, of course, no matter how bad it is for the rest of us.
When you have billions and live in a bubble, you never have to worry about your own personal security.
You don’t have to step over used needles or human feces on the sidewalk.
And best of all, you don’t take responsibility for the nightmare you have created.
Read NLPC’s shareholder proposal for the Salesforce annual meeting here.