EXCLUSIVE: Autodesk CEO’s letter to employees on 2016 election

Last week In Lisbon, Portugal, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass (above) watched U.S. election results in disbelief. When the dust had settled, like many, Bass was greatly agitated and concerned both for his business and his employees. After all, within 24 hours, Autodesk’s stock price had dropped 5% between Tuesday, Nov. 9, Election Day, and Wednesday, Nov. 10, only to fully recover just as quickly. So, on Thursday, Nov, 10, Bass felt compelled to send a letter of reassurance to all 9,000-plus Autodesk personnel worldwide. His candid letter appears below, and BuiltWorlds now shares it with the general public for the first time anywhere.

  • NOTE: The views expressed below are not necessarily those of BuiltWorlds or its employees.


From: Carl Bass
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2016 11:38 AM
To: Geo World – Regular Employees
Subject: US Election

Like many of you, I was stunned at the outcome of the US election on Tuesday. It is unfathomable to me that the man our country has elected to be President so clearly lacks the character, relevant public service experience, and intellectual curiosity that qualifies one for this extremely important job.

This result, combined with the extremely divisive and corrosive nature of the election process, has made me angry and frankly anxious about what the future holds for our country. Many Autodesk employees share my views but I’m aware that many employees disagree with me about this — some quite emphatically. I’ve also received many messages from employees outside the United States who are nervous about what a Trump-led U.S. will mean for the world and equally concerned about what working for an American company will personally mean to them.

It is very clear, from the election results, that our country is virtually evenly divided about the best path forward. It’s also painfully clear that the rewards from several decades of technological and economic progress have not been evenly shared across the country. Those of us in the technology industry have generally enjoyed great economic success and opportunity while driving these changes — and it’s because of these benefits that we have a special obligation to understand and alter the dynamics of the structural changes that have driven income inequality to record levels — and which left unabated, will continue to do so.

“It is very clear, from the election results, that our country is evenly divided about the best path forward… I hope that we will see healing and a coming together under the new administration”

— Carl Bass, CEO, Autodesk

The United States is a resilient nation and as citizens, we will all be looking for ways to move forward and see how this monumental decision plays out. But one thing is certain: thanks to this divisive and acrimonious campaign, we can no longer ignore the fact that deep divisions of hate, fear, and frustration are tearing at the fabric of our society.

I hope that we will see healing and a coming together under the new administration. I hope that the extremism and vague ideas of the Trump campaign will evolve into the more balanced and substantive solutions of the Trump administration. But, frankly, it is hard to feel confident of that right now and easy to succumb to the fear and anxiety that so much we love and value about our country is being threatened, and could ultimately be lost.

But whatever happens now in the country at large, at Autodesk I think we should take pride in the company we have built, and our vision of helping people imagine, design, and create a better world. Today more than ever, we should appreciate the Autodesk culture — which values openness of thought, the ability to disagree in a constructive way, and find solutions to move forward. To value and foster diversity and respect for everyone is critical in all aspects of our life.


To value and foster diversity and respect for everyone is critical in all aspects of our life


It goes without saying that regardless of how we feel about the results of the election, starting immediately and especially at Autodesk University next week, we should treat each other, our partners and our customers with respect since we don’t all share the same views.

As we move forward, I hope that what we all do every day, to help our customers design, make and use so many things that contribute to a better world, will help sustain us and provide positive focus.