You Don't Want to Be the Last CEO Stuck on Trump's Advisory Council

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Disney CEO Robert Iger joined Tesla’s Elon Musk on Thursday in resigning from President Donald Trump’s high-powered council of business leaders after it was announced the US would pull out of the Paris Agreement.


Iger announced his decision to resign in a tweet at the end of the day on Thursday, calling it “a matter of principle”.

Iger’s resignation means a total of three CEOs have dropped out of Trump’s initially 19-member advisory council due to insurmountable disagreements with White House policy. Uber’s Travis Kalanick left the council in February in protest over Trump’s travel ban.

Iger was hardly an active member of Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum. The Disney CEO told CNNMoney that he missed both meetings of the council, due to them conflicting with a vacation and a Disney board meeting. No doubt commitments he couldn’t get out of.

Currently remaining in Trump’s advisory team are the leaders of some of the most powerful companies in the world, including PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi, IBM’s Ginni Rometty, Walmart’s Doug McMillon, JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, General Motor’s Mary Barra, and General Electric’s Jack Welch.

Businesses who choose to align with Trump have had to play a tricky balancing act of not seeming to favor his most contentious policies while not abandoning a seat at the table. The CEOs of Trump’s advisory council are already facing pressure from furious consumers. Calls to boycott Pepsi, Walmart, and Uber followed after their respective heads joined Trump’s advisory team.


This just adds to the myriad of reasons why being on Trump’s advisory team doesn’t sound like the most worthwhile use of a high-powered corporate titan’s time. Not to mention that the name of Trump’s business council looks like a typo. Why is it called the Strategic and Policy Forum and not the Strategic Policy Forum? Who put the unnecessary “and” in there? Also, explaining taxes and trade regulation to Trump—a man who has the attention span of a goldfish and requires abbreviated intelligences briefings with big pictures—sounds like a form of torture banned by the Geneva Convention.

Which raises the question: Who will be the next CEO to see the light and leave the tragic, failed experiment/glorified photo opportunity that is Trump’s business council? Will they all just jump ship en-masse?


Or will Trump just forget that he has a council (very likely) and will the group just disband on its own? Only time will tell.