Peter Thiel’s New Venture Aims to Lure Companies Away From Environmental Justice Activism
By Michael Washburn, June 30, 2022
As the Walt Disney Co., Coca-Cola, Google, Microsoft, the Atlanta Falcons, and other high-profile corporate entities involve themselves in public controversies over hot-button social topics and pursue market strategies and internal policies based on Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) and Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) principles, some asset managers increasingly wonder how to invest capital in a way that won’t compromise their fiduciary duty to shareholders who are seeking the highest possible returns.
The trend of “woke” corporate governance is so pervasive and its divisiveness and effects on the bottom line are so hard to ignore that two ambitious entrepreneurs, Vivek Ramaswamy and Anson Frericks, co-founded a new investment firm, Strive Asset Management, in May.
Backed by venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Bill Ackman, founder and CEO of PershingSquare Capital, Strive’s role is to foster and support corporations operating free from ESGand D&I imperatives and in accordance with more traditional criteria—or as the financial firm’s website reads, “Our mission is to restore the voices of everyday citizens in theAmerican economy by leading companies to focus on excellence over politics.”
In the view of Strive’s founders, the need for an asset management firm pushing an alternative to woke ESG and D&I-based strategies and governance has been particularly acute, as what have long been familiar, indeed iconic, names in the corporate universe have pushed a socially conscious stance that has alienated consumers who never thought twice about spending money on those brands in the past.