Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella calls for a “referendum on capitalism”

He no longer wants his business to be simply valued on the profits it makes. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, the world’s second largest company, believes it’s time to re-imagine the way capitalism works. “Today, in 2020, in the midst of this pandemic, it would be right to have a referendum on capitalism”, he said at the Forbes JUST 100 virtual summit.

He explains that companies should measure their success by the number of jobs they manage to create, the income they generate with their suppliers, and the money their employees can spend. The financial profit that the company manages to generate should no longer be taken into account. In any case, this is what Satya Nadella now wants to apply to Microsoft.

Inspired by an economics book

The boss of Microsoft underlined the company’s commitment to wanting to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. He also recalled LinkedIn’s desire to fight against racial inequalities, an initiative supported by shareholders. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO since 2013, is said to have been inspired by an economics book published last year by Colin Mayer, a professor of management at the University of Oxford. Entitled Prosperity, the book emphasizes the responsibility of companies to improve the lot of people and the planet instead of simply working to maximize the profits of its shareholders.

Become “useful to all Americans”

With the approach of the next American election, the CEO of Microsoft also spoke about the responsibility that the company has on democracy. “As an American company, and as a tech company, our positioning in the world and in the United States is due to the dynamism of American democracy”, he explains. “Therefore, the status of any business, including our own, depends on our ability to lean on this strong democratic institution, here and everywhere else in the world.”

With these new statements, Satya Nadella makes no more towards a new turn started several months ago. Last August, nearly 200 CEOs of large companies, such as Amazon or JP Morgan Chase, signed a text consisting of new practices intended to “to promote an economy useful to all Americans”.

At this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, policymakers also stressed the importance of the “Greta Thunberg effect” as well as the urgency to respond to climate change. However, a recent report published by the NGO Test of corporate purpose (TCP) suggests that the commitments made by large companies have, for the most part, not been met.

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