According to a former executive at Anheuser-Busch, the rise of woke corporate governance, which resulted in significant financial losses for companies like Anheuser-Busch and Target, often begins with investment firms pressuring them to conform to certain ideologies. Anson Frericks, speaking on "Jesse Watters Primetime," explained that decisions made by these companies, such as the one involving transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney at Anheuser-Busch that led to a nationwide boycott of Bud Light, can be attributed to the influence of firms like BlackRock and Vanguard.
Frericks highlighted that BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street collectively manage approximately $20 trillion in capital. However, he emphasized that this money does not belong to the investment firms themselves but rather represents the investments made by American individuals in mutual funds and state pension funds.
Frericks further noted that one of these firms manages California's pension fund, the largest in the country, which gives California politicians a say in the corporate governance and decision-making of the firms in which they heavily invest. For instance, California has mandated divestment from fossil fuels and oil and gas, and similar actions have been taken by other politicians, such as former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Frericks revealed that his dissatisfaction with the way corporate America was engaging in politics, often contrary to public sentiment, prompted him to leave his position at Anheuser-Busch. He cited the example of Atlanta, where companies like Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines expressed outrage after Georgia passed election integrity laws. Major League Baseball also moved the All-Star Game from Georgia to Colorado in response.
The former executive expressed concern about this trend, as it leads to customer alienation and politicizes companies that traditionally focused solely on their core products. Frericks used Coca-Cola as an example, stating that it was not the company's role to engage in political matters but rather to deliver soft drinks.
Frericks argued that this trend is not only detrimental to businesses but also to democracy itself. He believed that decisions regarding societal matters should be made through free and fair elections, not dictated by a small group of asset managers and CEOs.
Host Jesse Watters mentioned that the political Left, which once held a negative view of Wall Street, now collaborates with it for political purposes. He referred to a recent forum where BlackRock CEO Larry Fink emphasized the importance of companies his firm invests in enforcing specific behaviors related to gender, race, and team composition. Fink suggested that failure to do so would have consequences for these companies.