General Mills faced the music from the company’s shareholders during its annual meeting on Monday. The Minnesota-based company voiced opposition to the ballot amendment aimed at banning same-sex marriage in the state.
General Mills CEO Ken Powell said that the decision was about business, not politics and said “We see it as a business issue that’s not good for our state, our employees and our company. We did not do it as a public relations move.”
One shareholder stated that “I really had a heavy heart and it saddened me that General Mills took a political stance on the amendment. Whether for or against, I don’t think politically you should have taken a stand on that.”
Another shareholder said “What was the reason for the company to get involved when perhaps over 50 percent of your customer base will be offended? I just don’t understand the rationale.”
The company made the announcement back in June. They have faced protests attended by a couple of people and calls for a boycott. The boycotts and protests have not hurt the company. As of 19 September, sales had risen by five percent and profits by three percent. Shares had also risen by five percent. The CFO of General Mills stated “a little bit better than we’d planned.”
One share holder praised General Mills’ decision and agreed that changing the state constitution regarding marriage rights was a business issue and another stated that “I would like to commend you for taking a stand on discrimination of any kind in the workplace.”