Merck CEO Ken Frazier Quits President Trump's Advisory Council
In the first six months of Donald Trump's presidency, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier appeared alongside Trump at least three times at press events, one of which commemorated the first and only meeting of the president's Manufacturing Job Initiative (better known at the president's "Manufacturing Council"). Then by August 2017, after tragic events surrounding a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a press event in which Trump condemned violence "on many sides," Frazier became the first CEO to resign from the Council in response. His action immediately elicited an angry tweet from the president that disparaged the CEO and his company. Two days later, the Council disbanded completely. This short case describes a CEO's act of conscience, and suggests some of the potential risks of such outspokenness.