Leadership Disaster at Holyoke Home


Last week Massachusetts officials published a report about one of the worst failures of our state’s Covid-19 response so far: the deaths of dozens of elderly veterans at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Mass. in late March and early April, at the height of our coronavirus outbreak here.  The report is worth compliance and audit…

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Two Tales of Ham-Fisted Leadership


One might assume that the leadership challenges facing Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and Roger Goodell at the National Football League don’t have much in common — but when talking about inept leadership in modern times, some universal truths do indeed emerge. First, let’s recap each man’s leadership bungles individually. We’ll start with Zuckerberg. The spark…

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Cruise Lines Face Covid-19 Compliance Squeeze


Royal Caribbean International has agreed to an exhausting set of criteria from the Centers for Disease Control so the cruise line can evacuate its employees from ships stuck at sea — including the risk of civil and criminal penalties for senior executives should Royal Caribbean bungle the task. That certainly takes the importance of running…

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Wells Fargo, Part II: Leadership Fails


Today we continue to examine the misconduct at Wells Fargo by examining the failures of leadership that allowed its unauthorized accounts scandal to happen. After all, poor leadership is the sort of dysfunction that could happen at any company, so what happened here is important to understand. In our first post about Wells Fargo earlier…

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Wells Fargo, Part I: How This Happened

wells fargo

Wells Fargo reached a $3 billion settlement with the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, to resolve civil and criminal charges into its unauthorized account scandal from the 2010s. Let’s take a look, since the facts here are a powerful example of how a company can engineer its culture and operations…

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On the Importance of Ethics and Leadership


Several weeks ago we had a post about the ethical missteps at Boeing, where I heaped lots of blame on now-fired CEO Dennis Muilenberg. That post generated many comments on LinkedIn, including a few that speculated: were these problems really due to Muilenberg, or was he undermined by subordinates who didn’t want him at Boeing?…

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More Misadventures in Ethics From Boeing


Boeing’s risk management failures with its 737 MAX jet turned out to be the biggest cautionary tale of corporate governance in 2019. Now we have one more glimpse into those executive misjudgments courtesy of the New York Times. The Times published yet another in-depth article about Boeing’s troubles on Sunday, this time starting with a…

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Management Override and Navy SEALs

management override

Keeping pace with all the ethics and compliance lessons one can learn from the Trump Administration is no easy task. Nevertheless, we have yet another one: the perils of management override, as demonstrated by President Trump’s determination to keep a disgraced Navy SEAL in military service. The story evolved quickly over the weekend. It begins…

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Great Example of CEO Setting the Tone


Compliance professionals talk all the time about the importance of “tone at the top,” that accurate but overused phrase that means CEOs should demonstrate the importance of disciplined, principled performance to their workforce.  Tone at the top has always struck me as one of those things where you know it when you see it —…

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Northam and Ethical Accountability


Another week, another challenging example of executive misconduct that ethics and compliance officers should consider. Our star this time around: Virginia governor Ralph Northam. Last week photos surfaced from Northam’s medical school yearbook, published in 1984. On one side of the page is Northam. On the other side is a photo of two unidentified men,…

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