The History of Business Roundtable

  1. Business Roundtable Founded

    Business Roundtable is formed in New York City by the merger of the Construction Users’ Anti-Inflation Roundtable and the Labor Law Study Committee.

  2. Policy Focus Expanded

    The March Group – an informal group of CEOs – integrates itself with the Business Roundtable, broadening its policy scope to include taxation, international trade, consumerism and the environment. Business Roundtable remains firmly nonpartisan.

  3. Public Confidence in Business

    Co-founder John Harper of ALCOA sets a goal for Business Roundtable: “Overall, it becomes clear to me that business must take an active, aggressive role in developing understanding of and support for the free-market system by reestablishing the public’s confidence in business. Without question, we have our work cut out for us.”

  4. Corporate Governance Principles Highlighted

    Business Roundtable adopts, “The Role and Composition of the Board of Directors of the Large Publicly Owned Corporation,” and begins a regular release of “Principles of Corporate Governance” – high-quality standards for management and directors.

  5. President Reagan Promotes U.S.-Canada Trade.

    At the annual Business Roundtable dinner, Chairman Roger Smith, CEO of GM, introduces President Ronald Reagan, who hails the economic and social benefits of trade and promotes the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement pending approval in Congress.

  6. U.S.-Mexico Trade Gains Momentum

    Mexican President Carlos Salinas addresses the Business Roundtable, calling for negotiations for a U.S.-Mexico Free Trade Agreement. President George H.W. Bush and Salinas that week agree on informal talks to move toward the agreement.

  7. Consolidating Headquarters in D.C.

    Business Roundtable consolidates its New York City operations with the Washington, D.C. offices.

  8. NAFTA Enacted to Boost Economy

    North American Free Trade Agreement, a longstanding Roundtable priority, enters into force, boosting U.S., Canadian and Mexican economies.

  9. Business Roundtable Launches Website

    First Business Roundtable website launched at

  10. CEOs Respond to 9/11

    Business Roundtable (BRT) announces formation of a new Security & Economic Recovery Task Force to deal with security issues facing corporate America following the terrorist attacks of September 11. Business Roundtable Chairman John Dillon said: “This new effort will focus on the security of our employees and their families, our workplaces and our key buildings and structures – gas pipelines, telecommunications networks, power plants, energy grids, and more – that face these new threats from terrorism.” CEOs also meet with Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge.

  11. CEO Economic Survey Launched

    During a “fragile economic environment,” Business Roundtable launches its first CEO Quarterly Economic Survey, which measures CEO views on sales, hiring and capital investment. The survey continues to this day, drawing consistently heavy media attention.

  12. Private Sector Responds to Disasters

    Business Roundtable announces the Partnership for Disaster Relief to expand the private sector commitment to global relief efforts by creating an unprecedented network to expedite relief to disaster victims. Business Roundtable companies have donated $200 million in funding, services and materials to tsunami relief.

  13. New Wellness Initiatives

    “Doing Well through Wellness,” – the first Business Roundtable report on wellness – surveys companies to document their extensive corporate health promotion and wellness initiatives to support employees.

  14. Leading on Sustainability

    Business Roundtable releases its first sustainability report, “‘SEE’ing Change,” documenting how America’s leading companies are setting challenging goals for environmental and social improvement while increasing business value. From an original 32 companies that contributed to the report, the number of participants has grown to 155 in 2017.

  15. Housing Emerges as Priority

    Under the leadership of Chairman Ivan Seidenberg, Business Roundtable establishes a Housing Working Group to develop policies to restore stability and growth to the U.S. housing market. In November 2009, President Obama signs a homebuyer tax credit extension and a new credit for existing homeowners, top recommendations from the working group.

  16. Change Course for Growth

    In a speech at the Economic Club of Washington, Chairman Ivan Seidenberg says CEOs are seeing a growing disconnect between Washington and the business community that “is harming our ability to expand the economy and grow private-sector jobs in the U.S.” He lays out a policy agenda for economic growth and U.S. competitiveness, focusing on capital formation, exports, infrastructure, education and innovation.

  17. CEOs: No Fiscal Cliff

    One-hundred-and-sixty-eight CEOs send congressional leaders a letter calling for compromise to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff” by defaulting on U.S. debt. “The United States will suffer significant negative economic, employment, and social consequences,” Chairman James McNerney and his Business Roundtable colleagues write. “In many cases the damage will be long-lasting, if not permanent. But it does not have to happen.”

  18. Success on Cybersecurity

    Business Roundtable announces principles to enhance U.S. cybersecurity, focusing on information sharing and collaborative risk management. Congress makes both a priority in its passage of the Cybersecurity Act, signed into law on December 18, 2015.

  19. Stabilize Entitlements

    CEOs release proposals developed by the Health and Retirement Committee to stabilize entitlement programs by modernizing Social Security and Medicare.

  20. Fix Broken Immigration System

    Business Roundtable releases policy recommendations, “Taking Action on Immigration Realistic Solutions for Fixing a Broken System,” calling for increased border enforcement, legal immigration to meet the demands of the U.S. economy, and a path toward legal status for undocumented workers.

  21. Success on Trade Promotion Authority

    Business Roundtable Chairman Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc., praises introduction of Trade Promotion Authority legislation. “Trade Promotion Authority is critical to completing new trade agreements that have the potential to unleash U.S. economic growth and investment,” he says. The Roundtable and allies push for its enactment for more than a year, President Obama signs the bill into law on June 29, 2015.

  22. Infrastructure Committee Created

    A new Infrastructure Committee is created to focus on long-term investment and competitiveness.

  23. Closing the Skills Gap

    Keeping a steady focus on the need for skilled employees, 67 Business Roundtable companies report in “Work in Progress: How CEOs are Helping Close America’s Skills Gap.”

  24. Historic Tax Reform Becomes Law

    Historic tax reform passes Congress, achieving top Business Roundtable priorities. Chairman Jamie Dimon hails its passage: “Congress and the Administration have achieved critical reform that will grow the economy, raise wages for American workers and boost business investment and hiring in the United States.”

  25. CEOs Survey Highlights Strong Economy

    Following passage of historic tax reform and the executive branch's embrace of a smarter approach toward regulation, the Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Survey reaches its highest point in its history, as CEOs plan for new investment, hiring and anticipate growing sales.