Andrew Liveris took to social media in the wake of the Charlottesville protest to confirm the Trump administration’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, of which he is chair, could not be sustained after five fellow CEOs resigned from the White House committee.
The resignations were made in protest at President Trump’s remarks after a white supremacist rally resulted in the death of an anti-racist protester.
Though Mr Liveris did not tender his resignation, the man who was invited to head the jobs initiative by President Trump posted on LinkedIn that there could not “be moral ambiguity around the driving forces of the events in Charlottesville.”
Mr Liveris said that “the public displays of hatred and bigotry on the part of white nationalist protesters were appalling. The tragic loss of a young woman’s life, as a direct result of racially motivated violence, was simply unbearable … the vile hatred we witnessed in Charlottesville is unacceptable.”
Reflecting on his heritage, the DOW chairman and CEO said he had been extremely grateful for how the American people welcomed him “and countless other immigrants, from every background, race, religion, and country of origin – with open arms”.
Aware of calls for business leaders to formally disassociate themselves from the administration in Washington, Mr Liveris said that for decades he had worked with officials from across the political spectrum to help build a more inclusive American economy.
“I agreed to serve as the chair of the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because I believe that a strong manufacturing economy is good for America and is the best way to ensure its benefits are shared with every segment of society.
“I want to assure you that I understand these genuine concerns and do not take them lightly. Nor do I take lightly the responsibility to serve this wonderful country or the obligation to fight for prosperity and opportunity for all Americans.”
Mr Liveris said the tragedy in Charlottesville was a painful reminder “of the bigotry that persists in our society today – as we continue building the ‘more perfect union’ that the Founding Fathers envisioned.”
Born in Darwin in 1954, Mr Liveris is the grandson of a Greek migrant who arrived in northern Australia on a trading ship in 1915. In 2012 he co-founded The Hellenic Initiative (THI) to support economic renewal in Greece through entrepreneurship, business development and investment.