Monday, March 30, 2020

Doing the Right Thing: Kent Taylor at Texas Roadhouse

This morning, I read some terrific news about a leader doing the right thing for his organization amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Kent Taylor is co-founder and CEO of Texas Roadhouse, the popular steakhouse restaurant chain. According to this article by Leo Shvedsky, Taylor has chosen to give up his 2020 salary and bonus.   He's giving the money to his employees who are hurting financially due to the crisis.  He's also made an additional $5 million donation to help his people.   Here's the excerpt:

Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor announced on Thursday that he is forgoing the rest of his 2020 salary and bonus and instead directing the funds toward paying his employees during the coronavirus outbreak. The remaining salary and bonus both amount to $525,000 each for a total of $1,050,000.  "Kent Taylor has always said that Texas Roadhouse is a People-company that just happens to serve great steaks. His donation of his salary and bonus to help employees is the embodiment of that saying," a Texas Roadhouse spokesperson told The Hill. "We are blessed to have his leadership."  The spokesperson also told The Hill that Taylor has already donated $5 million of his personal funds to Andy's Outreach, a non-profit run by Texas Roadhouse to help employees in times of need.

Paul Levy, former CEO of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, argues that all leaders should be taking these types of actions. In a blog post for Harvard Business Review, Levy, Atta Tarki, and Jeff Weiss write:

"If you are doing cut backs to save job losses, you must lead by example and do cut backs that impacts your own day-to-day as well. If you don’t, there is a danger that your staff will feel like saps, doing sacrifices while the C-suite continues unaffected. Get a commitment for a pay cut from your senior leaders. As CEO, you should take the largest salary cut yourself."

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