Starbucks Leads; Southern Company Sticks Head in Sand

With the Vogtle Nuclear Plant cost overruns in Georgia, Kemper Natural Gas Plant debacle in Mississippi, and the Atlanta airport transformer explosion fresh in people’s minds, Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning just added one more problem that could haunt him at the annual shareholders meeting next month.

Racism. Institutional racism. Racial-bias. Sheer ugliness.

As Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has shown the business world how to deal with the ugliness swiftly and promptly, he went a step further yesterday: on May 29, 2018, Starbucks will shut down 8,000 stores to train 175,000 employees about racial bias.

For over a year, we have asked Balch & Bingham to do a top-to-bottom review of their law firm and to train the 200 or so partners about professional and ethical conduct.

Sister-wife of Southern Company, Balch has simply ignored us as two partners were indicted, money-making partners left, and a fired partner went on to sell mattresses.

In mid-December, we asked Southern Company, as the founder of and top client of Balch, to hold them accountable for alleged unscrupulous and racist conduct.

Four weeks later, Southern Company said they would do nothing about the unconscionable conduct of their “vendor.” Southern Company’s executives stuck their heads in the sand.

Now the firestorm is brewing and the differences between Starbucks and Southern Company are even more defined. Most importantly, it is not the employees at Southern Company that need the urgent training; it is the executives in the C-suite who need the on-the-spot training

Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning appears to have failed the community, failed the institutional investors, and failed the company by not cleaning up or distancing the company from this embarrassing conduct.

With the Vogtle Nuclear Plant cost overruns in Georgia, Kemper Natural Gas Plant debacle in Mississippi, and Atlanta airport transformer explosion fresh in people’s minds, Fanning just added one more problem that could haunt him at the annual shareholders meeting next month.