Anti-environment activist Vivek Ramaswamy launches US presidential bid

The investor launched a company to pressure corporations to abandon environmental, social and corporate governance initiatives in 2022

Vivek Ramaswamy, executive chairman of Strive Asset Management, speaks during the Swiss Economic Forum in Interlaken, Switzerland, in June 2022. EPA
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Vivek Ramaswamy, the activist investor who launched a company in 2022 to pressure corporations to abandon environmental, social and corporate governance initiatives, said on Tuesday he would run for US president.

Mr Ramaswamy, 37, will step down as executive chairman of Strive Asset Management, which raised more than $650 million from investors in less than six months, to pursue his bid for the presidency in 2024, according to the firm's website.

“We've celebrated our diversity so much that we forgot all the ways we're really the same as Americans, bound by ideals that united a divided, headstrong group of people 250 years ago,” Mr Ramaswamy wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

A former biotechnology investor and executive, he will pursue the Republican nomination in what is shaping up to be a crowded field.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former vice president Mike Pence and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott are among those considering mounting a challenge to former president Donald Trump.

Mr Trump has already announced his candidacy and is, according to most opinion polls, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley has also announced her candidacy.

Mr Ramaswamy rose to prominence in 2021 as the author of Woke Inc: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam.

His new firm bought small stakes in some of the world's biggest companies, including Chevron Corp, BlackRock Inc, Walt Disney Co and Apple Inc and called on them to drop ESG policies such as advancing diversity or cutting carbon emissions to focus on their profits.

It is unclear how much impact Strive has had on the companies it pressured. But Mr Ramaswamy's contrarian message made him popular in conservative political circles and a regular guest on cable TV shows.

He cofounded Strive with former Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA executive Anson Frericks, who will continue to run the firm.

Updated: February 22, 2023, 4:58 AM