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Business leaders privately ‘incredibly frustrated’ with Trump-era volatility: Box CEO

Box Co-Founder and CEO Aaron Levie joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss the Trump administration and its impact on American business.

Video Transcript

- You haven't been afraid to be critical of President Trump. And I'm wondering, A, do you think he's really ever going to concede, and B, do you think the business world should be prepared for him to run again in 2024?

AARON LEVIE: [LAUGHS] Well, I think we're going to all have to probably have a new definition of what conceding looks like at this point. And I think we probably shouldn't anticipate that there's ever a moment where he accepts that he lost the election. I'm guessing that he's going to claim that the whole process was fraudulent till the very end. So I don't hold out much hope, nor do I really care whether he officially concedes at this point.

What's been interesting about this environment is, I think, the market generally recognizing that policy and business go hand in hand. Immigration policy is what created the ability for Silicon Valley to exist, and for Silicon Valley to be at the forefront of technology globally. So you can't have an innovation economy without thinking through immigration, without thinking through internet, and privacy, and encryption policy, without thinking through global trade.

And so a lot of people say, well, why did companies have to be so political? Well, no company wants to be political. But policy impacts our ability to build successful companies, our ability to hire and retain talent in our country. That is where policy ends up intersecting with the economy.

And so I think what businesses want, and even over the past four years, even when in public, maybe a lot of business leaders wouldn't have been as comfortable to say these things, in private, business leaders, I think, were incredibly frustrated with just the level of volatility that was happening, and the level of chaos that was occurring within the Trump administration. You want to be able to trust that your government is thinking over many, many years or many, many decades in terms of the policies that they're enacting, not that you're going to wake up one morning and all of the sudden, you're going to have a new trade war with a country that now is going to impact your own ability to execute your business. And so what I think business leaders want is that stability, that consistency, that thoughtfulness of policy and approach. And whether that's Democrat or Republican, I think, matters a lot less than just the ability to have a much more stable political and governance environment.