A good CEO is also an activist. That is the outcome of a survey that the European Leadership Platform conducted in October 2018 amongst business leaders in the Netherlands with a relation to ELP. 82.9 Per cent of the respondents agreed with this statement and 17.1 per cent disagreed. Activist CEOs are speaking out on social issues, ranging from immigration to LGBTQ rights and from climate change to labor laws. As one respondent said: “Business has a responsibility in social issues, in a world where governments’ impact is decreasing/not responsive enough to meet today’s challenges.”

Many respondents added that the CEO’s activism should be related to their business. As one respondent said: “A CEO can of course be an activist. However he is being paid to run the business. If the role of activist fits within the strategy to bring the company forward, it’s okay. It should not be a goal on itself.” Another added: “Every good CEO is an activist, otherwise he would not be able to change an organization. It’s more the question to what he should or should not restrict his activism.”


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