Business Roundtable

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  • Roundtable group that helps to facilitate corporate “cooperation”
  • Members are CEOs of more than 100 leading U.S. corporations that represent $5 trillion in annual revenues, nearly 10 million employees, and half of all U.S. corporate income tax
  • Describes its role as helping the business sector to “play an active and effective role in the formation of public policy”

Overview

Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with more than $5 trillion in annual revenues and nearly 10 million employees. Member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock markets and pay nearly half of all corporate income taxes paid to the federal government. Annually, they return $133 billion in dividends to shareholders and the economy. Business Roundtable companies give more than $7 billion a year in combined charitable contributions, representing nearly 60 percent of total corporate giving.1

Business Roundtable was established in 1972 through the merger of three existing organizations. The March Group an informal organization of chief executive officers which had been meeting to consider public policy issues. John Harper, then chief executive of Alcoa, and Fred Borch, then chief executive of General Electric, were both notable leaders of this group. Another founding group was the Construction Users Anti-Inflation Roundtable, an organization devoted to containing construction costs and headed by Roger M. Blough, then chief executive of U.S. Steel. The third was the Labor Law Study Committee, largely composed of labor relations executives of major companies.2

According to its official website, these groups founded Business Roundtable on the belief that “in a pluralistic society, the business sector should play an active and effective role in the formation of public policy.”3  The site goes on to say that:

Business leaders saw a need for an organization in which CEOs of leading enterprises could get together, study issues, try to develop a consensus, formulate positions and advocate those views. Business Roundtable was formed with two major goals:

  1. To enable chief executives from different corporations to work together to analyze specific issues affecting the economy and business; and
  2. The executives who created Business Roundtable believed active CEO participation would foster more cooperation and less antagonism between policymakers and the business community, and therefore promote a healthier U.S. economy, reduce unwarranted intrusion by government into business affairs, and better serve the public interest.

Activities

Business Roundtable has been active in supporting a number of initiatives friendly to conservative business interests.

  • Consumer Health and Retirement Initiative: In early 2007, Business Roundtable joined Divided We Fail, a coalition led by AARP, Business Roundtable, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which is said to be “focused on creating an environment that will foster the political will needed to encourage policymakers to find common sense, centrist solutions to health care and long-term financial security issues.”  The claimed intent of the the initiative is to make health care more efficient and affordable, yet Business Roundtable includes among its members some of the most profitable and powerful health insurance and pharmaceutical companies in the world.  One of the group’s members, H. Edward Hanway, CEO of Cigna, is one of the highest  paid chief executives in the country. 4
  • Corporate Leadership Initiative: Business Roundtable founded the Institute for Corporate Ethics at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, helping to promote ethical corporate governance.  In addition, the group has formed a Partnership for Disaster Response, which aims to bring together the public and private sector to create partnerships for disaster response.  This activity is extremely similar to that of Business Executives for National Security, another corporate group which is helping to build so-called “public-private partnerships” around the country.5
  • Education, Innovation, and Workforce Initiative: Business Roundtable is active in promoting “educational reform” at all educational levels, with separate projects for Pre-K-12 education, community colleges and universities.  However, this supposed role in education reform is somewhat dubiously asserted, as the former chairman of Business Roundtable and current chairman of their Nominating Committee, Harold McGraw III, is also the Chairman and CEO of McGraw-Hill Companies, one of the largest manufacturers of textbooks and “learning materials” in the country.6
  • International Engagement Initiative: Business Roundtable advocates reform in U.S. Tax Law to allow for increased U.S. “engagement” in international markets.  The group operates three separate task forces on opening up U.S. business to markets in Colombia, China, and Korea.
  • Sustainable Development Initiative: Business Roundtable advocates for programs in favor of “energy sustainability” and “energy efficiency”, as well as climate change.  These actions are coordinated with powerful business interests to ensure that so-called “green energy” and “sustainablity” efforts will not upset the economic control exercised by large energy corporations.  Many of the largest oil companies are members of Business Roundtable, including Shell Oil Company and Chevron.

Business Roundtable has also sent letters to congress on behalf of these and many other issues, many of which are available on their website.  The combined power of Business Roundtable, representing nearly 10 million employees and more than half of all corporate income taxes paid to the Federal Government, makes its lobbying efforts formidable in affecting policy decisions.  In the wake of the Global Economic Crisis beginning in mid to late 2008, Business Roundtable sent a series of letters to all the members of Congress threatening dire consequences if the $700 billion Economic Stimulus Act was not passed.  One specific letter, signed by a number of Business Roundtable members, says that:

The failure to pass emergency legislation to rescue the U.S. financial system will put our entire economy at risk. The resulting turmoil in equity markets has already wiped out hundreds of billions of dollars in household wealth and the retirement savings of the American people. But the impact of this crisis extends well beyond the financial industry.

As business leaders representing companies that generate more than $5 trillion of U.S. GDP – more than one-third of the U.S. economy – we are already seeing the damage spread to every sector of our economy. Credit is being shut off to both small businesses trying to meet payroll and families struggling to pay college tuition bills. Retail sales are declining each week as consumer confidence collapses. More business failures, job losses and significantly higher unemployment loom on the horizon.7

One of the letter’s signatories is Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman and CEO of the Blackstone Group, a financial services company which has played an integral role in managing assets seized by the U.S. government during the crisis.  Following the collapse of Bear Stearns, a holding company name Maiden Lane LLC was established to hold the failed company’s assets on behalf of J.P. Morgan Chase.  These assets are managed by BlackRock, a subsidiary of the Blackstone Group.8  J.P. Morgan’s CEO, James Dimon, is also a member of Business Roundtable.  Is should also be noted that the CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, James H. Quigley, is a member of the Business Roundtable, as the accounting firm has performed many of the official audits of bailout programs as well as Maiden Lane LLC.9

Leadership

Ivan G. Seidenberg, Chairman

  • Chairman & CEO, Verizon Communications

Edward B. Rust, Jr. (Ed),Vice-Chairman

  • Chairman & CEO, State Farm Insurance Companies

Kenneth I. Chenault (Ken), Vice-Chairman

  • Chairman & CEO, American Express Company
  • Member, Council on Foreign Relations

Harold McGraw III (Terry), Nominating Committee Chairman,

  • President & CEO, McGraw-Hill Companies

David M. Cote (Dave), At-large member

  • Chairman and CEO, Honeywell International, Inc.

Alexander Cutler (Sandy), Initiative Chairman

  • Chairman, President & CEO, Eaton Corporation

James Dimon (Jamie), At-large member

  • Chairman & CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Member, Council on Foreign Relations

Michael T. Duke (Mike), At-large member

  • President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

William D. Green (Bill), Initiative Chairman

  • Chairman & CEO, Accenture

Jeffrey R. Immelt (Jeff), At-large member

  • Chairman & CEO, General Electric Company

Robert A. McDonald (Bob), At-large member

  • President and CEO, Procter & Gamble Company

W. James McNerney (Jim), Initiative Chairman

  • Chairman, President & CEO, Boeing Company

Michael G. Morris (Mike), Initiative Chairman

  • Chairman, President & CEO, American Electric Power Company

Stephen A. Odland (Steve), At-large member

  • Chairman & CEO, Office Depot

Antonio Perez, Initiative Chairman

  • Chairman & CEO, Eastman Kodak Company

Randall L. Stephenson, At-large member

  • Chairman & CEO, AT&T Inc.

Rex W. Tillerson, At-large member

  • Chairman & CEO, Exxon Mobil Corporation

Locations

business

1717 Rhode Island Avenue
NW Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036

Corporate Members

A

A. O. Smith Corporation, Paul W. Jones

ABB Inc. USA Enrique O. Santacan

Abbott, Miles D. White

Accenture, William D. Green (Bill)

ACE Limited, Evan G. Greenberg

AES Corporation, Paul T. Hanrahan

Aetna Inc., Ronald A. Williams (Ron)

AK Steel Corporation, James L. Wainscott (Jim)

Alcoa Inc., Klaus Kleinfeld

Allstate Corporation, The, Thomas J. Wilson (Tom)

Altec, Inc., Lee J. Styslinger

American Electric Power Company, Michael G. Morris (Mike)

American Express Company, Kenneth I. Chenault (Ken)

Ameriprise Financial, James Cracchiolo (Jim)

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, James T. Hackett (Jim)

Apache Corporation, G. Steven Farris (Steve)

Arch Coal, Inc., Steven F. Leer (Steve)

ArvinMeritor, Inc., Charles G. McClure (Chip)

AT&T Inc., Randall L. Stephenson

Automatic Data Processing, Gary C. Butler

Avery Dennison Corporation, Dean A. Scarborough

Avis Budget Group, Ronald L. Nelson (Ron)

B

Bechtel Group, Inc., Riley P. Bechtel

BNSF Railway Company, Matthew K. Rose (Matt)

Boeing Company W. James McNerney (Jim)

Brink’s Company, Michael T. Dan (Mike)

C

CA, John A. Swainson

Case New Holland Inc., Harold Boyanovsky

Caterpillar Inc., James W. Owens (Jim)

Ceridian Corporation, Kathryn V. Marinello (Kathy)

Charles Schwab Corporation, Walter W. Bettinger (Walt)

Chevron Corporation, David J. O Reilly (Dave)

Chubb Corporation, John D. Finnegan

CIGNA Corporation, H. Edward Hanway (Ed)

Cisco Systems, Inc., John T. Chambers

Citigroup, Inc., Vikram S. Pandit

Coca-Cola Company, Muhtar Kent

Comcast Corporation, Brian L. Roberts

ConocoPhillips, James J. Mulva (Jim)

Convergys Corporation, David F. Dougherty (Dave)

Corning Incorporated, Wendell P. Weeks

Crane Co., Eric C. Fast

CSC, Michael W. Laphen (Mike)

CSX, Michael J. Ward

Cummins Inc., Theodore M. Solso (Tim)

D

Darden Restaurants, Inc., Clarence Otis, Jr.

DaVita Inc., Kent J. Thiry

Deere & Company, Samuel R. Allen (Sam)

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, James H. Quigley (Jim)

Dow Chemical Company, Andrew N. Liveris

Duke Energy Corporation, James E. Rogers (Jim)

DuPont, Ellen J. Kullman

E

Eastman Chemical Company, James P. Rogers (Jim)

Eastman Kodak Company, Antonio Perez

Eaton Corporation, Alexander Cutler (Sandy)

Eli Lilly and Company, John C. Lechleiter

EMC Corporation, Joseph M. Tucci (Joe)

Ernst & Young, James S. Turley (Jim)

Exxon Mobil Corporation, Rex W. Tillerson

F

Fedex Corporation, Frederick W. Smith (Fred)

Fluor Corporation, Alan Boeckmann

FMC Corporation, Willian G. Walter (Bill)

FPL Group, Inc., Lewis Hay (Lew)

G

General Electric Company, Jeffrey R. Immelt (Jeff)

General Mills, Inc., Kendall J. Powell (Ken)

General Motors Company, Frederick Henderson (Fritz)

Goldman Sachs Group, The, Lloyd C. Blankfein

Goodrich Corporation, Marshall O. Larsen

Grainger, James T. Ryan (Jim)

H

Hanesbrands Inc., Richard A. Noll (Rich)

Harman International Industries, Inc., Dinesh C. Paliwal

Hartford Financial Services Group, Ramani Ayer

Hertz Corporation, Mark P. Frissora

Hess Corporation, John B. Hess

Honeywell International, Inc., David M. Cote (Dave)

HSBC – North America, Brendan McDonagh

Humana Inc., Michael B. McCallister (Mike)

I

IBM Corporation, Samuel J. Palmisano (Sam)

Ingersoll-Rand Company, Herbert L. Henkel (Herb)

International Paper Company, John V. Faraci

ITT Corporation, Steven R. Loranger (Steve)

J

Johnson & Johnson, William C. Weldon (Bill)

Johnson Controls, Inc., Stephen A. Roell (Steve)

JPMorgan Chase & Co., James Dimon (Jamie)

K

Kindred Healthcare, Inc., Paul J. Diaz

KPMG LLP, Timothy P. Flynn (Tim)

L

Liberty Mutual Group, Edmund F. Kelly (Ted)

Liz Claiborne, William L. McComb (Bill)

M

MassMutual Financial Group, Stuart H. Reese (Stu)

MasterCard Incorporated, Robert W. Selander (Bob)

McAfee, Inc., David G. DeWalt (Dave)

McGraw-Hill Companies, Harold McGraw III (Terry)

McKesson Corporation, John H. Hammergren

Medco Health Solutions, David B. Snow (Dave)

Medtronic, Inc., William A. Hawkins III (Bill)

Merck & Co., Richard T. Clark (Dick)

MetLife, Inc., C. Robert Henrikson (Rob)

Microsoft Corporation, Steven A. Ballmer (Steve)

Morgan Stanley, John Mack

Motorola, Inc., Gregory Q. Brown (Greg)

Motorola, Inc., Sanjay K. Jha

MWV, John A. Luke

N

Nasdaq Stock Market, Robert Greifeld (Bob)

National Gypsum Company, Thomas C. Nelson (Tom)

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Stephen S. Rasmussen (Steve)

Navistar International Corporation, Daniel C. Ustian (Dan)

New York Life Insurance Co., Theodore A. Mathas (Ted)

News Corporation, K. Rupert Murdoch

Norfolk Southern Corporation, Charles W. Moorman (Wick)

Nucor Corporation, Daniel R. DiMicco (Dan)

O

Office Depot, Stephen A. Odland (Steve)

Owens Corning, Michael H. Thaman (Mike)

P

Pactiv Corporation, Richard L. Wambold

Peabody Energy Corporation, Gregory H. Boyce (Greg)

PepsiCo, Inc., Indra K. Nooyi

Pfizer Inc., Jeffrey B. Kindler (Jeff)

Praxair, Inc., Stephen F. Angel (Steve)

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Dennis M. Nally

Principal Financial Group, Inc., Larry D. Zimpleman

Procter & Gamble Company, Robert A. McDonald (Bob)

Prudential Financial, John R. Strangfeld

Q

QUALCOMM Incorporated, Paul E. Jacobs

R

Realogy Corporation, Richard A. Smith

Rockwell Automation Corporation, Keith D. Nosbusch

Ryder System, Inc., Gregory T. Swienton (Greg)

S

Sanofi-Aventis, Christopher A. Viehbacher (Chris)

SAP, Bill R. McDermott

Sara Lee Corporation, Brenda C. Barnes

SAS Institute Inc., James Goodnight (Jim)

Schering-Plough Corporation, Fred Hassan

ServiceMaster Company, J. Patrick Spainhour (Pat)

Shell Oil Company, Marvin E. Odum

Siemens Corporation, George Nolen

Southern Company, David M. Ratcliffe (Dave)

State Farm Insurance Companies, Edward B. Rust, Jr. (Ed)

T

Target Corporation, Gregg W. Steinhafel

Texas Instruments Incorporated, Richard K. Templeton (Rich)

Textron Inc., Lewis B. Campbell

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Marijn E. Dekkers

Travelers Companies, Jay S. Fishman

Tyco International Ltd., Edward D. Breen (Ed)

U

UAL Corporation, Glenn F. Tilton

Union Pacific Corporation, James R. Young (Jim)

United Technologies Corporation, Louis R. Chenevert

V

Verizon Communications, Ivan G. Seidenberg

Viacom, Inc., Philippe P. C. Dauman

W

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Michael T. Duke (Mike)

WellPoint, Inc., Angela F. Braly

Western & Southern Financial Group, John F. Barrett

Weyerhaeuser Company, Daniel S. Fulton (Dan)

Whirlpool Corporation, Jeff M. Fettig

Williams Companies, Steven J. Malcolm (Steve)

WL Ross & Co. LLC, Wilbur L. Ross

World Fuel Services Corporation, Paul H. Stebbins

Wyeth, Bernard Poussot

X

Xerox Corporation, Ursula M. Burns

Y

Yahoo! Inc., Carol A. Bartz

YRC Worldwide Inc., William D. Zollars (Bill)

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