This is a really weird one. Forbes wrote a story in 2013 about the Starbucks investor call. It was pretty famous because on it Howard Schultz, CEO, told a shareholder to take a walk if they think they’d get better returns. The comments were prompted by the shareholder saying returns were a big disappointing on Starbucks’ stock, then theorized that it was because Starbucks came out loud and proud in favor gay marriage. Schultz snapped back:
“Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year. I don’t know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38% over the last 12 months. Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. 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. Of all kinds.”
At that point the audience interrupted in cheers and applause. Then Schultz concluded, “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.” More cheers.
I remembered this because it was such a big deal at the time.
So just a few days ago, the website The Washington Press, whatever that is, wrote the following:
During the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting, CEO Howard Schultz had a clear message to send to investors who don’t support gay marriage: he doesn’t want your business.
It’s one thing to stick to one’s beliefs, but it’s another thing to allow those beliefs to cross the line and become zealotry. It appears Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz crossed that line during the meeting, mixing his belief system with business.
Schultz went on to claim that Starbucks strives to “embrace diversity of all kinds.” He went on to tell a shareholder who stands behind tradition marriage to sell his shares and invest elsewhere.
Now, thinking Schultz may have “done it again” I went to Forbes and searched, and the only story was the one from 2013. If you look at the wording, it’s very similar. This story stinks to high heaven, and it’s apparent that The Washington Press just rehashed an old story as a hit piece.
Maybe Jim Hoft has a moonlighting gig there?