3 CEOs I Would Rather Have Run for President
What’s that saying attributed to Ghandhi about people? First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win? Why does that seem to be eerily summing up Donald Trump’s run for the American presidency so far?
And more so, why is Trump the one who finally steps (it might go without saying it hasn’t been an elegant step, but step nonetheless) over the aisle from running a business to running for President?
So without further ado, I have put together a shortlist of prominent business leaders who I would pick any day over the Donald — regardless of which party they would end up representing — to put on the election ticket in no particular order.
Notes before we begin: This list represents my own views on what I believe to be important in such a leadership position as the President of the United States (which is why I personally exclude Mark Zuckerberg) as well as taking into consideration obvious requirements such as being a natural-born US citizen (excludes Elon Musk), and in assuming they’re excellent leaders having already made it to the pinnacle of their organizations and being in charge of 1000s of people under them.
Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks
Schultz has already had multiple run-ins with politicians over the years including coming under fire from the UK’s Business Secretary. I think of him as a strong candidate because he’s always done what he felt is right for the world, and didn’t let business get in the way — that is, he doesn’t bother keeping the status quo when things aren’t right in his eyes, such as when he took a (very publicly followed) stand for same-sex marriage in 2013. Or like when he wanted his customers to bring in petitions to Starbucks stores (and hey! Might as well pick up a frappuccino since we’re already here.) His Race Together campaign didn’t go quite as he expected though. Is he always right? No, but that’s not what makes for a great politician, does it? In fact, a simple Google search of ‘Howard Schultz running’ brings up dozens of penned articles on that very topic.
Mary Barra, CEO and Chairman of General Motors Company
Starting her career at 18 years old on the floor of a Ford plant and quickly moving up from there, with a number of engineering and administrative jobs, including managing the Detroit/Hamtramck plant, Barra would one of the strongest candidates for running with her experience as head of GM. Last September found the company at a turning point when she was successfully able to steer the behemoth through rough waters in a $900-million settlement with the department of justice showing Barra’s finesse in defusing critical situations and keeping cool under pressure when testifying before the Senate. What previously might have taken decades happened in 18 months. She was named Fortune Magazine’s most powerful woman of 2015 and 5th most powerful woman in 2015 by Forbes. Powerful yet diplomatic. A refreshing break from other business leaders in the spotlight this year.
Larry Page, Co-founder of Google and CEO of Alphabet (Google’s parent company)
While my previous two picks were almost solely on leadership merit and political dabbling alone, I’ve picked Page because I believe we would finally see a 21st century government under President Page. Say what you will about Google’s ‘Don’t be evil’ motto, Page is turning a new leaf of the way a business grows and the role it’s supposed to play in society. Take his secretive Google X lab, the “moon shot” where they’re building robotic cars, world-wide internet access, flying vehicles for delivery and an artificial neural network. They supposedly tossed around the idea of a space elevator but at this point it’s deemed unfeasible. Is this scary? Would having a president who has his own mini Area 51 and built the very machine you feed all your thoughts into make you squeamish about the privacy of your life? It makes me a little uneasy. But at the same time, it‘s always been the role of the US government to develop new ideas and Page could take this to a whole new level.
While I put together, what I believe to be, a strong argument for all 3 business leaders, at this point it would be easy to grab almost anyone and prop them up as a better alternative than Donald Trump (remember, I said almost anyone, Rupert Murdoch anyone?) But that wouldn’t be fair, because the United States of America shouldn’t have a leader who is the best at getting front-page publicity. No, I believe America deserves the very best person to lead their country for the nest four years of it’s history and that’s far too important of a job to give to a guy with such small hands.