SOC is focusing on Coke because of its public commitments to diversity and inclusion. “We don’t think he’s an adequate person to serve as a director,” Richard Clayton, SOC’s research director, told DealBook. It is the latest effort to hold the drinks company to its stated commitment to social justice; the National Legal and Policy Center also cited the company’s willingness to speak out on social issues when it demanded Kotick’s resignation from the board last month.
Clayton said that while Coke wasn’t necessarily a leader in corporate America on pushing for social justice, it wasn’t a laggard either. (To give it another reason not to renominate Kotick, SOC will also tell Coke that he should instead focus on fixing Activision’s culture.)
If Coke doesn’t reject Kotick, SOC will oppose the re-election of several directors. “Should the Coke board renominate Kotick, that would tell us about a lack of commitment” to those social goals, Clayton asserted. He added that SOC hadn’t yet determined which other directors it would oppose for re-election. Coke’s 12-member board is up for election every year.
A spokesman for Coca-Cola declined to comment on investor calls to remove Kotick from its board.
Seen and heard at congressional hearings
► “Parents are asking, what is Congress doing to protect our kids and the resounding bipartisan message from this committee is that legislation is coming? We can’t rely on self-policing.”
— Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, at a hearing about Instagram and children. Lawmakers from both parties grilled Adam Mosseri, the head of the social network, about leaked internal research that showed Instagram had a toxic effect on some teenagers. “What I can commit to you today,” Mosseri said, “is that no child between the ages of 10 to 12 — should we ever manage to build Instagram for 10- to 12-year-olds — will have access to that without explicit parental consent.”
► “What do you say to the folks that say this doesn’t seem like a new financial system per se but an expansion of the old one?”
— Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, at a hearing with cryptocurrency executives. She and other Democrats expressed concern about crypto’s rapid rise, urging stricter regulation of the sector using existing tools. Republicans, and the executives called to testify, warned against stifling the industry. “I really do believe we are building a new global economic infrastructure layer,” Jeremy Allaire of Circle, a crypto payments company.