As soon as Harold Leeson, the CEO of Natural Foods, pulled into the parking lot of his company’s headquarters, his phone rang. It was Kenneth King, one of his board members. Harold braced himself before answering.
“This is a total mess,” Ken said immediately.
“I know,” Harold replied, exhaustion creeping into his voice. “But our publicity team is telling me it’s going to calm down soon — people will forget about it.”
“Which people? The media? Your employees? Our customers? Because a lot of people are upset with us right now. And personally, I think they have a right to be.”
The trouble had started several weeks earlier, when the Star Tribune ran a story about the donation that Natural Foods, a midsize chain of organic grocery stores based in Minneapolis, had made to a super PAC called Minnesota Business First. The company had chosen to support the group because