The American chief executive of Australian email marketing software maker Campaign Monitor has revealed how deeply the Donald Trump’s immigration ban “disturbs” him, considering his own heritage as an immigrant.
Alex Bard, who took over the reins from the Australian founders in 2014, told Business Insider that the Trump administration’s ban on travellers originating from seven countries has a flow-on effect well beyond the people directly impacted.
“I completely appreciate protecting citizens but I think a broad-based ban hurts innocent people. It hurts our country. It hurts the world,” he said in Sydney this week.
Bard described how he was born overseas but came to the United States and achieved success, like so many others have done before and after him.
“It kind of connects deeply to me,” Bard said, emphasising that he was speaking for himself and not others in Silicon Valley.
“I came to the US when I was six years old — we emigrated from Russia and moved to New York. My parents had the immigrant dream, which is you leave something behind for an uncertain future but with the hope of, through hard work and perseverance, acceptance into the new environment to create a better future for your kids.
“And I’ve watched my parents make tremendous, personal sacrifices to put me and my sister in a position that we otherwise wouldn’t have been in.”
President Trump’s executive order to ban passport holders from seven Muslim-majority countries has provoked much consternation among the technology community, which attracts skilled workers from all over the world to take up positions that can’t be locally fulfilled. The biggest names in the industry, like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, are reportedly working on an open letter to the president in protest.
Bard said that if the US had not been open to immigrants then he would not have had the opportunities to achieve all his successes – establishing multiple startups, working for tech giants AOL and Salesforce, and now leading an Australian multinational.
“That’s the thing that’s probably disturbed me most about the current state today.”
The San Francisco-based executive said that Campaign Monitor itself was a global company with staff drawn from diverse backgrounds. He had communicated to all employees last week that the startup would provide support for anyone impacted by the travel ban.
“If there’s anyone in anyway affected, we’re already talking to our attorneys and we’re here for them. First and foremost we’ll support our employees.”
Bard said that he was hopeful that the current tense situation would moderate.
“I’m hoping that common sense and goodness prevails and we’re able to get to a much better resolution than we are today.”
Campaign Monitor – which was founded in 2004 by Sydneysiders Ben Richardson and Dave Greiner – opened a new London office in September to add to its presence in Australia and San Francisco.
In 2014, the company raised a then-Australian record of $US250 million, with Bard stepping in as CEO soon afterwards. Richardson and Greiner remain involved as board members.