Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, discusses CEO activism and the role of corporate ethical responsibility in this New York Times interview with David Gelles (Corner Office column):
Gelles: PayPal was one of the first financial companies to take a stand on guns. How did you arrive at that decision?
Schulman: If you’re going to have a consistent set of values that you stand up for, they have to be reflected in your acceptable use policy. Around the violence in Charlottesville, we identified a number of groups that espouse hate or violence, and we don’t allow them to use PayPal to fund-raise.
And we do not allow PayPal to be used for guns and ammunition. That there are rules and regulations in terms of background checks is extraordinarily important. But if somebody is going to do something online, we can’t fully vouch for those background checks. And so therefore we just outlaw it.
Gelles: It’s not always comfortable for C.E.O.s to take a stand on these issues. How do you decide where to draw that line?
Schulman: Companies, and by extension their management teams and their C.E.O.s, have a moral obligation to try to be a force for good. I don’t think there’s any way that we can shirk that responsibility, and I don’t think there’s any way to fully stand away from the culture wars around us. You have to take a stand. That stand shouldn’t be a political one. But it should be one that is based on your values and your mission.