First look: Harris veterans launch firm to protect CEOs from being canceled

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A group of veterans from Vice President Kamala Harris’ campaign is launching a strategy firm to help keep CEOs from being “cancelled” and advise companies on how to respond to changing cultural norms before they hit a crisis. Give.

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running the news: Sea Street Advisory Group, led by Chief Executive Officer John Haynes, a former national campaign finance chair for Harris’ presidential campaign, will draw on its broad political network to help Corporate America diversify its workforce.

  • “Young people know the difference between real change and window dressing,” Haynes, a 20-year veteran of Kirkland and Ellis, tells Nerdshala. “You have to understand your own organization and make real, systematic change.”
  • “Change can be scary, and in today’s world fear can lead to inertia,” he said. “But, inclusive leadership and inclusive change will lead to incredibly valuable, value-driven organizations.”

why it matters: C Street entering An emerging, competitive market—with financing from Antara Capital, a hedge fund backed by Blackstone—is a sign that large financial firms view the diversification sector as a growing industry.

  • It worked closely with traditional crisis management firms, as well as Teneo (founded by former aides of President Clinton) and WestExec Advisors (which began with Obama veterans and served as a government-in-waiting for the Biden administration). will compete.
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big picture: Both public and private companies face pressure from their employees and outside investors to take positions on a variety of controversial social and political issues.

  • But so-called “awakening capitalism” also risks backlash, not to mention pressure campaigns such as Major League Baseball over Georgia’s new laws curbing voting access after moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta.

how it works: C Street plans to use diverse contacts in the business, legal, academic and political worlds to help CEOs and company boards make changes to their corporate culture and recruitment practices.

  • The goal is to help protect companies and top executives immune from the threat of “canceling” or an employee backlash.
  • The firm will advise in four different areas: general corporate strategy; Diversity, equality and inclusion; Talent Acquisition; and traditional crisis communication.
  • Minnea Moore, President Clinton’s former political director at the White House and one of Harris’ closest confidants, is on the board of advisors.
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What we’re listening to: Alvin B. Tillery Jr., professor of American politics at Northwestern University, will head the DEI practice.

  • Private equity and Goldman Sachs veteran Beth Kojima will be in charge of the talent.
  • Melissa Prober, a litigator and former in-house attorney at the Clinton Foundation, will handle crisis communications and serve as general counsel.
  • Brian Mathis, a former Clinton-era Treasury official and investment advisor, serves as a senior advisor.

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