By Jennifer Kaplan
January 30, 2017
Coca-Cola Co., the world’s largest seller of soft drinks, said it opposes the travel ban issued by President Donald Trump and will assess any effect it has on employees, joining the thin ranks of companies publicly condemning the policy.
“Coca-Cola Co. is resolute in its commitment to diversity, fairness and inclusion, and we do not support this travel ban or any policy that is contrary to our core values and beliefs,” Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent said in an e-mailed statement.
The executive order, which Trump issued on Friday, sets new barriers to entry for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. The administration also is seeking to suspend the admission of refugees for 120 days.
Coca-Cola joins Starbucks Corp., Nike Inc., Chobani LLC and a swath of technology companies in coming out against the order. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told his employees that he had a “heavy heart” and vowed to hire 10,000 refugees from around the world. Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant turned billionaire founder of Chobani, said he’s “very concerned,” while Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who hails from India, called the policy “painful.”
Kent has previously advocated for immigration reform to make it easier for skilled immigrants to move to the U.S. He is a first-generation American, born in New York while his father was serving as Turkey’s consul general. The 64-year-old is slated to retire as CEO of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola later this year.
“As a U.S. company that has operations in more than 200 countries and territories, we respect people from all backgrounds and greatly value the diversity of our global system’s more than 700,000 associates,” Kent said in the statement. “We are continuing to assess any potential impact to our employees, and will provide them with appropriate support as needed.”
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