The rise of the celebrity CEO has its downfalls.
Twitter Inc. (TWTR) CEO Jack Dorsey was forced to apologize for something he shared on his social network over the weekend.
Dorsey tweeted a picture of a payment he made to Chick-fil-A via Square Inc.’s (SQ) Cash app (Dorsey is also the CEO of Square). Little did he know that eating Chick-fil-A is a big no-no for the crowd of people concerned about what other people are eating.
Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy has come under fire for his stance on same-sex marriage.
Dorsey apologized for the faux pas after journalist Soledad O’Brien informed him of his mistake.
You’re right. Completely forgot about their background
Chick-Fil-A— jack (@jack) June 10, 2018
If O’Brien hadn’t been there to shame him, who knows how much Dorsey might have enjoyed that delicious chicken sandwich.
Dorsey finds himself among the new generation of so-called celebrity CEOs who, in exchange for increased public scrutiny, are allowed to also weigh in on societal issues.
“With a 24-hour news cycle, and increased public access to updates and analysis, business leaders’ personal lives and business strategies are under greater scrutiny than ever,” European CEO Natasha Burton said in a recent article.
Here a few examples of celebrity CEO missteps in recent years.
Spotify Technology S.A. (SPOT) tried to spearhead the movement of tying musicians’ personal lives to the art they make by announcing that it was removing R. Kelly and others from company-sponsored playlists as part of the #muteRKelly social media campaign. After initially being lauded for the move by the campaign’s backers, Spotify soon realized it opened a Pandora’s box and that if it started consistently censoring music based on artists personal behavior it wouldn’t have many artists available.
“We rolled this out wrong and could have done a much better job,” CEO Daniel Ek admitted weeks after the company’s policy went into effect. Ek added he wanted to combat hate speech on his platform but that he never intended for the company to be the “morality police.”
Facebook Inc. (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most visible of the new generation celebrity CEOs, and he has been under fire for much of the past 18 months. His political ambitions have not helped ease the scrutiny, but his response to recent scandals involving Russian interference into the U.S. electoral process and data privacy have led to calls for his ouster.
Tesla Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has seemingly enjoyed his status as a celebrity CEO, using his platform to push back against what he has deemed as unfair criticism in the media. But after using social media to broadcast his company’s lofty goals, Musk has also had to use Twitter to offer more than one mea culpa to his fans on the platform.
Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2018