Monday 19 August 2019 4:37 pm

Top US business bosses abandon shareholder-first principle

The age-old principle that shareholders come first has been ditched by an influential lobbying group representing some of the world’s most senior business bosses.

Maximising profits for investors should no longer be the main priority for firms, an organisation called The Business Roundtable concluded today, as it signalled a major corporate shift towards achieving wider customer and community targets.

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In a letter signed by 181 US chief executives, the group called on corporate leaders to take into account “all stakeholders”, including employees, customers and the wider society, rather than just those who own shares in the company.

The statement said: “While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders…We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.”

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JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon, who is chairman of the Roundtable, said that he hoped that the declaration “will help to set a new standard for corporate leadership.”

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Apple boss Tim Cook were among the business executives who signed their names to the letter.