AT&T chief calls on other CEOs to advocate for racial justice

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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is calling on fellow chief executives to advocate for policy changes that work toward racial justice after the death of George Floyd.

Stephenson told CNBC in an interview Tuesday that companies have to go beyond making donations and releasing statements.

“All of us CEOs have large African American employee bodies. We owe it to them to make sure that we’re speaking to this, that we’re asking our policy makers to step up, that we’re asking our political leaders to step up and recognize and just say it: We’ve got a problem,” he said. 

He suggested CEOs push for an end to law enforcement policies that allow racial profiling.

Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody, and video footage showed a now-fired officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he said he could not breathe. The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

“We have an imperative to begin to use our muscle and our influence to begin to effect policy change to address this,” Stephenson said. “I think we as business leaders are going to need to put our shoulder into this and begin to try to move the ball.”

The Business Roundtable, which is made up of CEOs from leading U.S. companies with Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon serving as chairman, called on leaders to take action in a statement Saturday.

“We call on national, local and civic leaders to take urgent, thoughtful action to prevent future tragedies and to help our communities heal,” the group said in a statement.

Tags AT&T CNBC deaths in police custody Doug McMillon George Floyd police brutality racial justice Randall Stephenson Walmart

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