What do you know about the CEOs of your favorite companies? Who’s at the top? Is it a guy? A woman? Asian or Caucasian? Black, Hispanic or one of countless groups I left out? Do these questions keep you awake at night? Change where you shop? What shares you buy? Probably not, unless you’re a zealot.
A zealot much like the lady now running Sam’s Club. She’s listed by CNN as “Sam’s Club’s black, female CEO Rosalind Brewer”.
If it were my news story, she would have been simply “Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer”. But these days, the colour of your skin, and your preferred bathroom define you, not your character or accomplishments. So the extra adjectives in her title, sadly, are necessary in the eyes of the media.
Her job, as CEO of Sam’s Club, includes direct dealings with suppliers. Were I a shareholder, that’s where I’d want her focussing her energies. Human interactions, egos and hurt feelings can all play a part, and even minor mishandlings of top-level negotiations might seriously harm a company’s bottom line.
So Ms Brewer was interviewed on CNN, where she admitted to judging her counterparts across the table. How many are white, and how many are male? If she doesn’t like the numbers, she assumes they’re racist and/or sexist.
She announced she will call one such supplier to discuss her concerns. Moreover, she stated that race and sex play a factor within her own hiring structure, which … all other considerations being equal … indicates she will potentially disqualify a white and/or male candidate for no better reason than race and sex.
But, of course, that “isn’t” sexist or racist.
You might object: isn’t she just fixing a broken system? Let me ask this question: did she become CEO on her own merit, or by a scoring system that handicapped her rivals?
If you answer “merit” then you have admitted special treatment is unnecessary. If you answer “handicapped”, you have shown that for the sake of “diversity” social engineering is preferred above the success of a company, and you have actually betrayed your shareholders’ trust. Neither becomes a compelling argument for hiring for reasons other than merit.
But Ms. Brewer is just trying to make the world a better place right? Fine, let’s take that argument out for a test drive. Change a few details and see if it holds up.
For her, the elevation of women and visible minorities is the important issue. (One she “uses her platform” to advance.) But there are many other ways to support such causes as a private individual, meaning, outside of official capacities, company time, or official business relationships.
Imagine someone hired on as CEO of company X. For consistency, let’s call her a black woman. But rather than “women in the workforce”, her driving passion is in proclaiming the Gospel. In a TV interview she mentions a supplier she’s dealt with, has doubts about their salvation, and wants to share the Gospel with them. She is concerned for their eternal souls, and — wanting to do good for these people — announces her intention to have that conversation.
In that same interview she offhandedly mentions that her affinity for other Christians makes her naturally more receptive to their applications when offering a promotion than she might be to unbelieving counterparts.
If you were a shareholder, or head of her HR department, would you object to anything here? To the mixing of personal passions and professional responsibilities? If yes, you understand my objection to what she is doing. If no, you probably never will.
Watch the video here: