Higher ethical standards are a double-edged sword

Sascha Matuszak (Sascha.matuszak@corporatecompliance.org) is a reporter at SCCE in Minneapolis, MN.

When the CBS Board of Directors finalized the ousting of former CEO Leslie Moonves, they initially agreed to pay him most of the $180 million owed to him if he were fired without cause. After several more women came forward, incensed that Moonves would walk away with a payout, the board reversed their decision and stated that it was all but certain that the company will pay Moonves nothing.[1]

Although perhaps justified, given the number of accusations of sexual misconduct swirling around Moonves, the decision by the board to fight against paying out a single dime is a product of a new era of ethical considerations in the business world. Whereas companies a decade or two ago would have eschewed publicizing any details about removing their CEO for allegations of sexual misconduct, today the threat of a broad social backlash against unethical behavior has companies toeing a much different line.

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