The Ethical Barometer

News & Events

Former Mine CEO Sentenced to One Year in Prison

His conviction was the first time a high-ranking executive was convicted of a safety violation crime.  Now, Donald L. Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy Company, has received a one-year sentence for his conviction on a conspiracy-to-violate-safety-standards charge.  Mr. Blankenship was at the helm of Massey when 29 miners were killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, an explosion that federal and state inspectors said was exacerbated by Massey’s failure to fix water sprays and letting dust accumulate.  The result was an explosion that roared through 2 miles of tunnels. (more…)

Companies with large gaps between GAAP and pro forma numbers underperform

Do you think so? New research confirms the obvious once again. (Evercore ISI) Companies with great pro formas are focused on numbers and managing numbers. Those in the exec ranks are no longer managing the business; they are fretting over the short term at the expense of strategy. See The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse by Marianne M. Jennings for more detail on this issue. Research that preceded this research.

Classic Quotes

“They are very unsophisticated– and anyone could ‘rape’ them.”

E-mail from Goldman executive in 2008 reflecting on the firm’s dealings with Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund.  Libya has filed suit against Goldman Sachs in the High Court of London, and the quote was one of many to emerge as the trial proceeds.  Another e-mail read, “You just delivered a pitch on structured leveraged loans to someone who lives in the middle of the desert with his camels.”

The allegations are that Goldman earned $222 million from the fund even as the fund lost money, and  Libya is asking for $1.2 billion in losses (more…)

“I don’t know what the answer is, but holy cow, do we have a problem.”

FBI Director James Comey in discussing rising crime rates in more than 40 cities.  In Chicago alone, murders were up 40% and shootings up 70%.  You have to put your faith in a guy who still says “holy cow.” This is one guileless guy. Holy cow, he worries and just faces facts.  What a unique combination in our era of power-hungry spinners.

Ethical Dilemmas

“Tie your flag onto your belt.” Advice from a flag football coach to his young charges.

That strategy does cut down on the other team’s ability to pull that flag off. What does the young player tell the coach? Perhaps, more relevantly, what does the parent of the young player tell the coach? Especially if the young team of belters is winning?

“Get Yourself Fired — You’ll Make More Money!”

The Barometer was strolling through the home section of a major department store.  Tempted by  Christmas potholders at 50% off, the Barometer stopped and soon planted feet firm to continue listening as three employees of this fine establishment conversed about their futures.  The ring leader was explaining to the novice employees that after the new year begins, most of them would be going to part-time status because of slow sales, the economy, health care issues, etc.  The two employees seemed crestfallen.  But, their mentor would have none of it.  “Don’t do it!” said he.  “Get yourself fired because the money you make on unemployment will be better than part-time work here and you can get 99 weeks of unemployment.  Plus, you are eligible for medical care through the government because you are unemployed.  It’s a better deal. It is so not worth it to keep working.” This fine consigliore (more…)

Trust Across America - Top 100 Thought Leaders Ethisphere - 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics

Featured Books by Marianne Jennings

Business Ethics: Case Studies and Selected Readings, 8th Edition

Business Ethics: Case Studies and Selected Readings, 8th Edition

Available 1/31/2014 at cengage.com
Somewhere Between Ezekiel & Miss Havisham - 365 Days At The Cemetery

Somewhere Between Ezekiel & Miss Havisham - 365 Days At The Cemetery

Available Now at Amazon.com
The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse

Never trust the people you cheat with. They will throw you under the bus.

A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success

Meet Edgar P. Benchley. Charitable people tend to call him a nerd. Others use less subtle descriptions. If you hear Edgar chatting to himself, don't be alarmed. He has an invisible friend who's kind of a cousin to Harvey from the old movie of the same name with Jimmy Stewart.

Anderson's Business Law and the Legal Environment, Standard Volume, 22nd Edition

Anderson’s Business Law and the Legal Environment, Standard Volume, 22nd Edition

Available Now at cengage.com
Anderson's Business Law and the Legal Environment, Comprehensive Volume, 22nd Edition

Anderson’s Business Law and the Legal Environment, Comprehensive Volume, 22nd Edition

Available Now at cengage.com
Real Estate Law, 10th Edition

Real Estate Law, 10th Edition

Available Now at cengage.com