Subtle but clear pushback from Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, in his latest annual letter, against the trendy idea that "stakeholders" should somehow replace shareholders as the people a company should exist primarily to serve:
Berkshire is a Delaware corporation, and our directors must follow the state's laws. Among them is a requirement that board members must act in the best interest of the corporation and its stockholders. Our directors embrace that doctrine.
In addition, of course, Berkshire directors want the company to delight its customers, to develop and reward the talents of its 360,000 associates, to behave honorably with lenders and to be regarded as a good citizen of the manycities and states in which we operate. We value these four important constituencies.
None of these groups, however, have a vote in determining such matters as dividends, strategic direction,CEO selection, or acquisitions and divestitures. Responsibilities like those fall solely on Berkshire's directors, who must faithfully represent the long-term interests of the corporation and its owners.