Monday, August 09, 2010
One wonders how dumb a smart CEO can be. We know the answer with Mark Hurd's resignation from HP. It is not so much what he did -- fudging his expense accounts -- but that he did it at all given the high ethical standard he had set for the company. It appears he was a CEO who believed rules applied to everyone but him. It is difficult to believe there are still CEOs in the US who do not understand that today's governance does not allow for variance. CEOs today are hired hands in the employ of boards. They are no longer temporal kings. From a PR perspective, they should understand that they are no different than the lowest employee when it comes to conduct. Flame-outs like Hurd's make the PR task both easier and more difficult. It is easier because everyone understands where the board's standards are. It is more difficult because PR now must help introduce a new CEO to a company that has reeled in recent years through several leaders. HP is too good an organization to suffer like this.