Spotted via Towleroad, this little back and forth between Howard Schultz and a stockholder is worth excerpting in its entirety:
At the company’s annual meeting Wednesday, shareholder Tom Strobhar suggested that the boycott had indeed bled the company of value.
“In the first fill quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earrings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” he said.
CEO Howard Schultz shot back that the decision to back gay marriage was not about the bottom line, but about respecting diversity. He said the company had delivered a healthy return last year, boycott or no.
“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much,” he said, to loud applause from the audience.
Schultz summed up the company’s position by saying, “Not every decision is an economic decision.”
Seattle’s public radio station KPLU has a full audio recording available here.
If you’re for equal rights and marriage equality, exchanges like this one from a prominent public figure – a prominent public COFFEE figure, no less – make for heartening news indeed. But regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, you have to respect Howie for standing up behind his beliefs. “Not every decision is an economic decision” are some pretty wise words.