Corporate CEO or Environmental Advocate?

If you are one of the tens of millions of Americans who own stock, and maybe aren’t too thrilled with what’s been going on on Wall Street lately, you’ll want to read National Center for Public Policy Research Senior Fellow Tom Borelli’s column naming the five worst CEOs of 2007.

The five worst CEOs share a common trait, in Tom’s view: a desire to place the desires of the liberal corporate social responsibility movement over the financial interests of stockholders.

A case in point: GE CEO Jeff Immelt, who allies his company with left-wing advocacy groups on environmental policies and promotes the adoption of new new regulations intended to influence the temperature of the planet. Says Tom:

Immelt’s global warming strategy is causing a series of unintended consequences. For example,the incandescent light bulb – a GE product and invention of its founder Thomas Edison – will be phased out by federal law. Over the past year, GE lobbyists had to fight hard to defeat outright bans of incandescent bulbs and buy time to restructure its lighting business that currently relies more on traditional bulbs.

GE’s coal business is also feeling the heat from concerns over global warming. While it has invested heavily in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), a technology that captures carbon dioxide from coal-fired electricity plants, environmentalists have another plan – just ban the use of coal.

This year, environmental activists have been successful in blocking the construction of a number of coal-fired power plants including 8 of 11 plants in Texas. The termination of the Texas power plants resulted in the cancellation of orders for GE’s steam turbines worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Immelt and the other four CEOs named by Tom should reconsider their career paths by resigning their current positions and taking jobs with environmental organizations. True, the pay is less (though not as bad as some might think, and anyway, these guys should be able to live quite comfortably on their savings), but the little old ladies who rely on these companies’ stocks for their retirement accounts would appreciate the gesture.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.