Ethical Leadership

December 20, 2009

Ethical Leadership

Thankfully it is getting near the end of the year. No better time than now for Ethisphere to come out with its 2009 list of the most influential people in business ethics.  I thought I would look at how many chairmen and/or CEOs made the list during these past 12 months of dismal business scandals and economic news. Only six CEOs of Fortune 500 companies made the business ethics leadership list in 2009. This is a comedown from 2008’s list where nearly three times more CEOs were considered influential business ethics leaders.  A larger 16 Fortune 500 CEOs were included in 2008. No comparison and hey, no surprise.  This is an indicator of why CEO reputation has been so low and getting lower. The CEOs who made the 2009 list are below.

6. Mike Duke – CEO, Walmart

15. Sharon Allen – Chairman, Deloitte

17. Jeff Immelt – CEO, General Electric

19. Herbert Fisk Johnson, III – Chairman & CEO, SC Johnson

26. William Ballhaus – CEO, DynCorp

63. Ed Breen – Chairman and CEO, Tyco

Former GE CEO Jack Welch made the list at #65. I did not include him above but it is worth noting what Ethisphere said about him for making the list: “Welch makes the list for admitting in an interview with Financial Times that his focus on ‘shareholder value’ was ‘the dumbest idea in the world.’” I wish I had remembered this quote for my recent posts on why CEOs matter. If you have been reading, you’ll know that I commented on the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times stories on the most worthy CEOs. (See previous posts) Their yardstick was financial performance. Point made.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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