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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Business Roundtable today made a small, symbolic but significant move: 181 of the nation’s top CEOs agreed that driving shareholder value is no longer their sole business objective. 

Why this matters: They expanded their mission beyond mere wealth creation to include everything from taking care of employees to helping their communities.

  • This shift, spearheaded by BRT Chairman and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, reflects the growing pressure from employees, social media and customers to do more than increase stock prices. 

The big picture ... Truth is, even the most press-shy, introverted CEOs need to be de facto politicians, thanks to several unambiguous social trends: 

  • Millennial employees demand their employers stand for something beyond profit. 
  • It is getting harder to recruit and retain talent, especially tech talent, if profit is the only objective. 
  • A rising number of consumers make purchasing decisions based on a company's social purpose. 
  • The media applies a lot more pressure on CEOs to take positions on political topics, such as race and immigration. 
  • Every CEO/company is vulnerable to split-second, social media uprisings. Undefined CEOs and companies find it impossible to push back. 

Watch for: Mischievous shareholders could use this BRT document, which was first reported by Fortune's Alan Murray, to accuse CEOs of worrying about things beyond increasing the value of their shares, a fiduciary responsibility.

  • I hear several general counsels cringed — and protested — when they saw this document. 

Interesting historical note: A half decade ago, Steven Pearlstein, who won a Pulitzer for his WashPost columns on the economy, partly blamed the BRT’s focus on shareholder value alone for the corruption of capitalism.

Tuck away … The BRT members that didn't sign the new document: Alcoa, Blackstone, GE, Kaiser Permanente, NextEra, Parker Hannifin and State Farm.

Read the BRT's full text and see the CEOs that signed on:

Go deeper: The issues haunting CEOs during the Trump era

Go deeper

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

1 hour ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.

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