The police killing of George Floyd has elicited denunciations of the status quo and calls for social change from high-profile business leaders like JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Add to the list Chase Koch, the president of venture capital firm Koch Disruptive Technologies and son of Charles Koch, the multi-billionaire CEO of Koch Industries and one of the nation’s most influential conservative political donors.
In a newly released interview, taped on Monday, Chase Koch said Floyd’s death draws attention to the lack of respect afforded to some Americans and called for a “cultural transformation” to address the inequality.
“Heartfelt sympathies to George Floyd’s family, and all those experiencing injustices,” says Koch, 42, who sits on the board of directors at Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries, a chemical and energy conglomerate with annual revenue of over $110 billion.
“This is, I think, a terrible reminder of how much work we have to do as a country to make sure that every individual has dignity and that dignity is respected,” he says.
In the aftermath of the police killing of Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, a slew of companies and their chief executives stepped forward to denounce racial inequality and advocate for steps to remedy the injustice.
“We will not tolerate racism in any form,” Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said, days before the company pledged $1 billion on Wednesday to fight racial inequality over the next four years. On Sunday, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel sent a memo to employees advocating for a commission on reparations and comprehensive tax reform, The Information reported.
“I feel like a cultural transformation needs to take place in this country,” Koch says. “We’ve got a lot of work to do as a country evidenced by what’s what’s happening right now.”
Koch pointed to values like “mutual benefit” and “equal rights,” which he described as central to a functional society and an economy that ensures wellbeing.
“We have to respect those principles because that’s what makes the world go round and makes people prosperous and makes people better off,” he says.
Koch made the remarks in an episode of Yahoo Finance’s “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.
Since 2017, Koch has served as president of Koch Disruptive Technologies, which invests in companies developing advances in cybersecurity, medicine, and other sectors. He has held a position on the board of directors at Koch Industries since 2013, according to LinkedIn.
Koch highlighted work being carried about by Urban Specialists, a Dallas-based nonprofit funded by a Koch family philanthropic initiative called Stand Together. Urban Specialists provides mentorships and trainings for members of underserved communities.
“Our whole idea around this is we got to get all kinds of people to stand together and think about how do we help,” he says. “How do we drive a society of mutual benefit where we’re helping each other instead of hurting each other?
“That starts with a belief in equal rights,” he adds. “It starts at the dinner table with our kids.”