Corporate America Virtue Signaling in Wake of Derek Chauvin Murder Conviction

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 20: People march after the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial in Brooklyn on April 20, 2021 in New York City. In a trial followed around the world, Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty and has been convicted of murder for …
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Corporate America did not miss the opportunity to weigh in on the jury finding former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on three counts of murder in the death of George Floyd, with Twitter feeds flying and corporate statements pouring into email boxes since the decision was announced on Tuesday.

Floyd’s death sparked violent protests across the country and solidified radical racial justice groups like Black Lives Matter, which encouraged violent protests and found financial support from some of these same corporations.

Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors:

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel:

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO:

Eric S. Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom:

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple:

Chuck Robbins, chairman and CEO of Cisco:

LinkedIn statement from Sara Wechter, Head of Human Resources at Citigroup:

George Floyd’s murder almost one year ago sparked a much needed reckoning on racism in America. It rightly pushed us as individuals and as a company to examine what we can and should do — what we must do — to take action to create a more equitable society.

The verdict in the trial today sparks a great deal of emotion for many of us. It feels like justice has been finally served, yet it doesn’t end the grief felt by so many. It underscores the EMT’s commitment — shared by so many of you — to be allies, to fight systemic racism at every level, and to support all those facing injustice. It also speaks to the importance of the work we’re doing through our Action for Racial Equity commitment to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the U.S.

I encourage us to continue to support one another, and to work hard every day to ensure Citi is a place where each and every one of our colleagues can show up as their true, authentic selves. 

If you need support, please reach out to your manager or our Affinity steering committee and to learn more about race matters, allyship and anti-racism, please connect with Citi’s internal resources.

Statement from Blue Cross Blue Shield:

Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (“Blue Cross”) shared the following message today with the company’s 3,700 employees:

Many of us today are reflecting on the guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd. For the past week, our board member Quincy Miller noted, “it has felt like our very humanity was on trial.” In the end, Mr. Floyd’s humanity was recognized. His life mattered.

And his death mattered. Mr. Floyd’s senseless killing, at the hands of a police officer sworn to protect him, spurred outrage and anguish in America, as well as vital dialogue and action.

One verdict does not mark victory in a long fight for justice and accountability, but I hope it does mark progress in a battle that will continue. We know we can only begin to heal as a nation if we act together to address racism and injustice.

Our company is committed to racial justice and committed to doing that hard work of healing. We are confronting the crisis of racial heath inequities and working to create a more equitable health care system, especially for people of color. We are supporting Black and Brown leaders in our community, including organizations focused on police reform. Working together, we can begin to put an end to inequities.

Much work remains to be done, in our company and our community.

Here at Blue Cross, we will continue our dialogues on racial equity and prejudice, including at next month’s Company Connect and in June when, for the first time as a company, we mark Juneteenth, the day that commemorates the end of slavery.

Racial injustice and bias bring pain and fear to members of our own community, and I have been proud to see our associates support each other and show solidarity. Today, I encourage you to connect with others — check on colleagues, reach out if you are feeling hurt. We can take strength from our common values of respect, dignity, and equity for all.

Statement from Best Buy:

While this verdict in the murder of George Floyd symbolizes some measure of progress toward racial equity and accountability, it does not fully erase our nation’s history of systemic and institutional racism. We still have a long way to go in our fight for racial justice in this country, and Best Buy’s unwavering commitment to this work is as strong as ever.


The New York Times reported on Target’s statement:

“The murder of George Floyd last Memorial Day felt like a turning point for our country. The solidarity and stand against racism since then have been unlike anything I’ve experienced,” Brian Cornell, the C.E.O. of Target, wrote in a note to employees of the Minneapolis-based retailer yesterday. “Like outraged people everywhere, I had an overwhelming hope that today’s verdict would provide real accountability. Anything short of that would have shaken my faith that our country had truly turned a corner.”

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook:

Right now I’m thinking of George Floyd, his family and those who knew him. I hope this verdict brings some measure of comfort to them, and to everyone who can’t help but see themselves in his story. We stand in solidarity with you, knowing that this is part of a bigger struggle against racism and injustice.

Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford, and Jim Farley, CEO, said in a statement:

We are hopeful today’s verdict will allow a grieving family and a community to start to heal. However, the systemic racism and social injustice apparent in the killing of George Floyd and countless other terrible episodes in our country are deeply rooted. Together, we must remain thoughtful and determined in addressing this reality, including the unacceptable abuse of authority and power and the pain it causes – disproportionately for the Black community and other people of color. For our part, Ford and our UAW partners will continue to create a company culture where everyone feels they belong and our differences are truly valued.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos: 

Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Technologies:

Business Insider reported on response from Walgreens and Microsoft:

Walgreens Boots Alliance posted a statement on its website saying that law-enforcement officials must protect “all of us, at all times.” People need to “pledge to do everything within our power to ensure that long-overdue, much-needed reforms are enacted to prevent future injustices,” the company said. “Even with a verdict now handed down, we must never forget what this past year has taught us, and we must always keep alive the memory of George Floyd, and the countless victims who have suffered similar fates,” it said.
[Microsoft President Brad] Smith said “our nation has a long journey ahead before it establishes the justice and equity that Black Americans deserve.” He added that “no jury can bring him back to life or reverse the pain and trauma experienced by his family and still felt across the country and around the world” but that the verdict was “a step forward in acknowledging painful truths.”

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