Business leaders weigh in as jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty

Many executives acknowledged the need to continue to fight for equality

Business leaders throughout the country spoke out on Tuesday after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges brought against him in the death of George Floyd, with many celebrating the verdict and some calling for continued action.

The jury, after roughly 10 hours of deliberation, found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin could face up to 75 years in prison when he is sentenced in eight weeks.

The case sparked a nationwide reckoning on racism and policing in the U.S.

Here's where some of the biggest leaders from corporate America stand on the verdict:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

"Right now I'm thinking of George Floyd, his family and those who knew him," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post, "I hope this verdict brings some measure of comfort to them, and to everyone who can't help but see themselves in his story. We stand in solidarity with you, knowing that this is part of a bigger struggle against racism and injustice."

Target CEO Brian Cornell 

Target CEO Brian Cornell told employees in a note Tuesday that the "murder of George Floyd last Memorial Day felt like a turning point for our country" and that the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is a sign "of forward progress."  

"As I think about the Minneapolis Police Department denouncing the brutality George Floyd faced, and the disgrace expressed by multiple witnesses, the jury’s verdict reassures me that we will not go backward," he wrote. "Sadly, this kind of tragedy did not end last May 25, and our country has a lot of work to do and a long way to go. "

Cornell added that he hopes the "verdict offers some measure of solace." 

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson 

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said Tuesday's verdict "is a step forward in accountability" but also acknowledged that "there is so much more work to do to address systemic racism in our society and create the change needed to ensure everyone has an equal chance to succeed and thrive." 

"[Tuesday's] jury verdict in the murder trial of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin will not soothe the intense grief, fatigue and frustration so many of our Black and African American partners are feeling," Johnson wrote in an open letter to employees and customers. "Let me say clearly to you: We see you. We hear you. And you are not alone. Your Starbucks family hurts with you."

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said although the verdict "represents accountability and an important step towards justice," he reaffirmed that it still is "just that: a step." 

Business Roundtable

Members of Business Roundtable, a nonprofit whose members are chief executives of major U.S. companies, released a statement saying that the country still needs to address racial inequity in law enforcement. 

"Though today’s verdict is a step toward justice in this case, unarmed Black men and women continue to die in encounters with the police," Business Roundtable wrote. "To ensure true justice and healing, our country needs to take steps to address its long history of racial inequity in law enforcement." 

The group promised to "work with Members of Congress and the Administration on bipartisan policing reforms that implement national policing standards, and greater accountability, training, community engagement and transparency."

General Motors CEO Mary Barra

General Motors CEO Mary Barra noted that the verdict delivered on Tuesday would not replace the loss of Floyd's life and the loss experienced by his family.

Walgreens Boots Alliance

Roz Brewer the CEO of the Walgreens Boots Alliance urged Americans to remember the lessons learned over the past year as Americans have taken to the streets and demanded change.

"Even with a verdict now handed down, we must never forget what this past year has taught us, and we must always keep alive the memory of George Floyd, and the countless victims who have suffered similar fates," Brewer said.


Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California CEO Paul Markovich called Tuesday's verdict evidence of the criminal justice system "at work."

"By no means is that work anywhere near complete," Markovich added. "But today’s verdict is a meaningful step towards establishing a justice system and a society that truly live up to our aspirations.  At Blue Shield of California, we are committed to do our part to help make this dream a reality.  In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers remain with George Floyd’s family and friends.  May they find some peace with this decision."


Microsoft President Brad Smith called the decision "a step forward" in the ongoing fight against racism and discrimination.

"Our nation has a long journey ahead before it establishes the justice and equity that Black Americans deserve," Smith said in a statement. "The murder of George Floyd is a tragedy and a crime, and no jury can bring him back to life or reverse the pain and trauma experienced by his family and still felt across the country and around the world. Today’s verdict is a step forward in acknowledging painful truths and for the continued cause of defeating racism and fighting discrimination. Our company remains committed to the continued path ahead."


In a Twitter post, Salesforce acknowledged the verdict as a defining and important moment, pledging continued action for racial equality and a more just world.


Seventh Generation

In a series of Twitter posts, Burlington, Vt., based Seventh Generation, which manufactures cleaning products, said that it supported defunding the police and investing in systems that build community health and well-being.