Chick-fil-A boss Dan Cathy has said that he regrets getting the company entangled in controversy over anti-gay marriage donations, but that he hasn’t changed his mind.

In 2012 it emerged that the fried chicken company had donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups including the Family Research Council, Exodus International and Focus on the Family, after Cathy said the business supports ‘Biblical families’.

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cathy said he had “learned a lot” from plunging the business into controversy.

He said: “The bottom line is we have a responsibility here to keep the whole of the organization in mind and it has to take precedence over the personal expression and opinion on social issues.

“Consumers want to do business with brands that they can interface with, that they can relate with, and it’s probably very wise from our standpoint to make sure that we present our brand in a compelling way that the consumer can relate to.

“By recognizing the mistakes that you make, [you] learn from those mistakes. If not, you’re just a fool. I’m thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it.”

However, he made clear his views on same-sex couples have not changed, saying: “I think the time of truths and principles are captured and codified in God’s word and I’m just personally committed to that.”

The business has faced several boycotts since the anti-gay donations came to light, with some stores blocked or removed.