A CEO Q&A with James Loree, President & CEO, Stanley Black & Decker

How have you met the commitments outlined in the Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation in 2020?

The challenges presented by 2020 created a multitude of opportunities for companies like ours to demonstrate their commitment to Purpose and to Stakeholder Capitalism. First and foremost, our primary commitment has been to the health of our own employees and doing everything we can to ensure their safety. We have also been explicitly focused on doing our part to help governments and communities mitigate the spread of the virus.

Earlier this year, we announced a +$10 million program to support pandemic response efforts across the globe. As part of this program, we have:

· Deployed millions of dollars to support nonprofits across the globe that are providing critical services such as hospitals and other healthcare organizations, as well as those focused on basic services, such as food banks.

· Donated more than 1 million masks to elder care facilities across North America to support some of our most vulnerable.

· Created a $5 million employee relief fund to help our own associates and their families around the globe who have encountered severe financial hardships in connection with the pandemic.

· Established a COVID-19 Response Team which is working with organizations around the globe to use our own innovation capabilities to solve COVID-19-related challenges. We have partnered with other large industrial manufacturers to design and produce lithium-ion powered respirators, and we partner with private sector organizations and state and directly with governments to support their efforts to battle the virus.

· Shared our learnings and expertise on COVID-19, including safety practices and training materials, with governments, suppliers and other organizations.

We continue to look for more ways to do our part to help the world mitigate the impact and spread of the virus.

Where have you drawn inspiration from during this challenging time?

I have been inspired by our people who continue to demonstrate incredible resiliency and dedication. At the same time they were struggling with concerns around their own personal health and wellbeing and those of their loved ones, they stepped up to do their part to not only keep our business up and running but to also contribute to their communities. We have employees around the globe who have contributed to society in extraordinary ways, whether printing 3-D masks for their sister’s nursing team halfway across the globe or cooking meals for the hungry in India. We have extraordinary purpose-driven colleagues at Stanley Black & Decker and they make me incredibly proud to run this company.

What is one of the most important decisions you have made for your stakeholders this year?

Early on in the beginning of the crisis, we determined that the most important priority for us was our people and their health and safety. As the impacts of the virus took hold across the world, beginning in China in early 2020, we acted promptly to institute extraordinary safety precautions in our facilities. We continue to learn from the effectiveness of these measures and those of other organizations, in concert with guidance from public health organizations. This has allowed us to focus on the safety and well-being of our employees both inside and outside work and keeping workers employed in good jobs while providing essential tools and services for essential workers.

Finish this sentence — The multistakeholder approach means that this year…

The multistakeholder approach means that this year and beyond companies need to step up and lead among the community of stakeholders — governments, academia, civil society, non-profits and others to lead relief, recovery, and reform efforts to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19.

What is one action pertaining to your COVID-19 response or a societal/environmental issue (for example, racial equity and justice) that you are most proud of championing in your role as CEO?

On June 3, in the wake of the brutal slaying of George Floyd, I, on behalf of the company, issued a statement taking a stand for justice and equality and committing to inclusivity for all. We have seen anguish and unrest resulting from racism and implicit bias. The deep-rooted history of these truths is real. We are committed to doing our part to level the playing field. Since early June, our senior team and Board of Directors have had extensive dialogues with our Black associates to build a shared understanding of their experiences with racism and bias to determine how we can create a better future for Black communities both inside and outside the company.

We have commissioned a task force, which has recently made substantive recommendations, which we are moving forward with in the second half and beyond. Many of these actions will have benefits that will spill over to other diverse cohorts, as well. And we see an opportunity for real positive change going forward.

How has being a CEO changed in the last several years and how much do you think it will change in the years ahead?

When I became CEO in 2016, I suspected that we were going to be entering a challenging period, one with heightened stakeholder expectations and one full of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. I did not anticipate, however, how true this would be. I feel fortunate that we had taken the steps to prepare for this environment. We formally defined our purpose — For Those Who Make The World — which has served as our North star throughout this crisis, and we have grounded the company in our social responsibility pillars and established clear values and leadership principles. Clearly there is more work to be done, but we are committed to being a Purpose-driven company and a force for good. I believe that Stakeholder Capitalism is essential to the future of capitalism.