Should CEOs be fired over sex scandals?
The business sector is no stranger to the types of revelations now coming to light about David Petraeus.
How the mighty have fallen. The ongoing sex scandal now unfolding around former CIA Director and US Army General David Petraeus has a lot of resonance in the business sector.
A former assistant to Waffle House CEO Joseph Rogers Jr. recently filed a police report against him, accusing him of forcing her to perform sexual services in order to keep her job.
Rogers' imbroglio was just the latest in a series of workplace scandals involving some top company executives.
- Christopher Kubasik, who was scheduled to become the CEO of Lockheed Martin (LMT) in January, resigned earlier this month after investigators discovered his "close personal relationship" with a company subordinate, violating the company's ethics code.
- In April, consumer electronics chain Best Buy (BBY) CEO Brian Dunn stepped down after acknowledging an inappropriate relationship with a 29-year-old female employee. Dunn left the company with a $6.6 million severance package.
- Also in April, Kenneth Melani, CEO of health insurer Highmark, was dismissed for repeatedly lying about an affair he was having with a woman he hired. Melani also had assault and trespassing charges filed against him after he got into a brawl with the woman's husband.
- In February, medical device maker Stryker (SYK) fired CEO Stephen MacMillan. The married-but-separated MacMillan had received permission from the board to date a female employee as long as she resigned. But he still got fired when some board members suspected the relationship began earlier than he led them to believe.
- In 2010, Hewlett Packard (HPQ) chairman and CEO Mark Hurd was forced out of the company after sexual harassment allegations were leveled against him by an outside contractor. Hurd walked away with cash and stock worth an estimated $34 million.
- In 2005, Boeing (BA) CEO Harry Stonecipher resigned after an affair with an employee. Stonecipher left the company with $11 million in Boeing stock.
So should consensual affairs cost company executives their jobs?
Clinical psychologist Wendy Walsh says no, unless the parties involved are violating an employee contract or threatening national affairs.
"People at the office have sex all the time," she said in a CNBC interview. "And if they're peers and we're not talking about a power dynamic where a boss is probably over-using too much power with an underling, then it's perfectly OK. It has nothing to do with employment; it has nothing to do with breaking the law. It has to do with human relations, and that's for his wife to deal with."
But Newsweek and Daily Beast columnist Daniel Gross disagrees. For a lot of companies, he notes, workplace affairs can be become a legal issue.
"They have stated policies that say you cannot have these types of relationships," he said on CNBC. "It opens them up to sexual harassment claims, to discrimination claims. It's quite bad for morale as well. And when you go to work somewhere, they make you sign papers saying that you will adhere to the policy on document preservation and on the use of your phone and on the travel policies. This is one in another, one in a long series of policies that people adhere to. In the case of Lockheed Martin, there was an explicit policy against this."
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They usually don`t get fired unless their stock is down.Jack Welsh keep his job because the
GE was doing well.How does the current GE CEO keep his job?
When a CEO and an employee get caught with their pants down then everybody in the company thinks it's OK to follow suit. The big risk for the CEO is that when the relationship goes south he sets himself up for blackmail, getting a divorce with a big payday for the EX and reducing his status to a smuck. Relationships in the work place are on going all the time, but the real question here remains;
Is the fling worth losing your job and family?
Don't you think the real question here is-- Why do we still recognize the CEO position? The CEO was a position bestowed on the Founder who needed a lesser hands-on position to let the President run the business, just not run the business into the ground. Somehow that transitioned into a real role held by lesser and lesser qualified people. How can you have "talent" if you never started up a business that is successful? In short, how can there be CEOs who aren't Founders? Sex scandals? Isn't that the credo of a wierdo who has inherited something they don't respect and leverage to their whim and wish?
GET RID OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER ROLE, restore responsibility in business.
I am more concerned about firing CEOs that outsource jobs to India, China, Korea, mexico, etc., etc., etc,
I could go on with the etc's but I think the point has been made.
Advise them that they need to clean up their act, or there will be more drastic matters taken if it happens again. Put them on probation period. If they screw up again then fire their ****!
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