Developing Leaders Issue 31: 2019 | 41 Executive DEVELOPMENT CEO Activism and Its Implications for Executive Development By Matthew Gitsham M ore and more businesses and business leaders are speaking up and taking action on issues widely seen as important to society. Nike has made a striking intervention in arguments about civil rights and race by selecting as the face of its campaign to celebrate 30 years of the ‘Just Do It’ slogan Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player unable to find employment because of his protest against police killings of African Americans. P&G has intervened in arguments about gender with campaigns ‘Like a Girl’ and ‘We see equal’ depicting boys and girls defying gender stereotypes. Apple CEO Tim Cook has intervened in arguments about discrimination, challenging the states of Alabama and Indiana on LGBT rights. Business leaders including Unilever’s Paul Polman, Virgin’s Richard Branson, Allianz’s Olivier Bäte, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Danone’s Emmanuel Faber and others have joined together to challenge governments to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as the IPCC have warned of the policy changes required by 2030 to avert the worst effects of climate breakdown.