- Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday.
- Business leaders including Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, and Roz Brewer responded to the verdict soon after.
- Many said the verdict was only the beginning of the fight against institutional racism.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
After Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday afternoon, top US business leaders were quick to respond.
Many said that the ruling was only the beginning of the fight against institutional racism, and urged more action.
The CEOs of Apple and Dell shared quotes by civil-rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., while Zoom CEO Eric Yuan urged his staff to take care of their mental health.
Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer at the time, knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter.
Floyd’s death has led to increased scrutiny of police brutality and institutional racism around the world, and gave further international attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Here’s how corporate America responded to Tuesday’s verdict.
Just minutes after the verdict was announced, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted that his thoughts were with Floyd, Floyd’s family, and those who knew him.
He added that the verdict was “part of a bigger struggle against racism and injustice.”
Facebook announced new content moderation rules on Monday in advance of the trial verdict, saying it would “remove content that praises, celebrates or mocks George Floyd’s death.”
Amazon tweeted that the verdict was a “small, yet important victory in the larger fight against racism and social injustice.”
—Amazon (@amazon) April 21, 2021
Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Justice for Black people will not flow into society merely from court decisions nor from fountains of political oratory.
“Justice for Black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society.”
Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell.
Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell, shared a different quote by King.
—Michael Dell (@MichaelDell) April 20, 2021
Melinda Gates, chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Melinda Gates, who chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation alongside husband Bill Gates, posted on LinkedIn that the verdict was “just the beginning.”
“As important as it was, this verdict was not justice,” she said. “If George Floyd had justice, he would be alive today.”
The Business Roundtable
The Business Roundtable, a group representing the CEOs of top US companies including Walmart, P&G, Dow, and PayPal, urged the country to “take steps to address its long history of racial inequity in law enforcement.”
“Though today’s verdict is a step toward justice in this case, unarmed Black men and women continue to die in encounters with the police,” it said.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra
General Motors CEO Mary Barra said that the verdict was a “step in the fight against bias and injustice,” but that “we must remain determined to drive meaningful, deliberate change on a broad scale.”
—Mary Barra (@mtbarra) April 20, 2021
Walgreens Boots Alliance
Walgreens Boots Alliance posted statement on its website, saying that law enforcement officials must protect “all of us, at all times.”
People need to “pledge to do everything within our power to ensure that long-overdue, much-needed reforms are enacted to prevent future injustices,” the company said.
“Even with a verdict now handed down, we must never forget what this past year has taught us, and we must always keep alive the memory of George Floyd, and the countless victims who have suffered similar fates,” it said.
“The Centers for Disease Control has declared racism a public health threat, and for many African Americans and others in communities of color, it has definitely been life threatening,” it added.
Microsoft President Brad Smith
Salesforce tweeted that though the verdict was a “defining and important moment,” it “does not make up for so much loss and injustice experienced by the Black community.”
“George Floyd should be alive today,” it added.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson
In a letter to US partners, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said that the verdict would “not soothe the intense grief, fatigue and frustration so many of our Black and African American partners are feeling.”
He said that, “while today’s verdict is a step forward in accountability, until we confront the ugly realities and root causes of what led us to this day, our people, our nation, will always fall short of their full potential.”
“We cannot sit on the sidelines as individuals nor as a company,” he added.
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said that Tuesday was “meaningful in the pursuit of justice, although Black communities continue to experience targeted acts of violence.”
In an note to staff, Zoom told employees to take care of their mental health and reach out to managers if they needed support.
Twitter urged people to “continue to deepen our solidarity and our commitment to combating racial injustice.”
—Twitter Together (@TwitterTogether) April 20, 2021
Lyft cofounder John Zimmer
Lyft cofounder John Zimmer said that “this year has opened America’s eyes to the urgency with which we must act and stand up for communities of color.”
LinkedIn said that “George Floyd should still be with us.”
“Today’s decision is important, but does not bring him back or diminish the acts of violence that the Black community continues to experience,” it added.