Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told employees in an internal memo that while he is against the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their families at the U.S-Mexico border, Salesforce won’t stop selling software to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to this report from Bloomberg. Mr. Benioff has been a vocal advocate for social issues such as gay marriage and closing the gender pay gap, but in this case, his rationale is that the border agency isn’t using Salesforce software as part of the controversial family separation policy.
Mr. Benioff is the latest tech CEO to navigate the tricky terrain of balancing employees’ ethical concerns with business needs. A similar situation unfolded at Google a little while ago when the company’s work with the Pentagon came to light. Then, Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene reportedly told employees that Google’s AI wouldn’t be used to target people in drone strikes. But for some employees, that didn’t go far enough.
For Mr. Benioff, one question is whether employees will accept his explanation or choose to take their talents elsewhere.