Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan pharmaceutical (sellers of the price-increased EpiPen ($600)), and daughter of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.Â Ms. Bresch is featured in a case study in Marianne M. Jennings. “Business Ethics: Case Studies and Readings” (Cengage 2014).Â For those who have forgotten . . . In 2008, Ms. Bresch, upon being named COO, claimed that she had an MBA from West Virginia University.Â The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found that she was, in fact, short 22 credit hours.Â The dogged reporting also revealed a scandal at West Virginia University to create courses, grades, and a degree for her.Â Her father was, after all, then Governor Joe Manchin.
When confronted by the press about the degree and all the doings, , Ms. Bresch explained that she would not release a transcript because her word was “better than a transcript.”Â However, the reference to the degree was removed from her credentials, and anÂ investigative panel issued a scathing report indicating that university officials were pressured into altering university records and spinning 22 credit hours out of whole cloth.Â Ms. Bresch did drop out of the program but claimed that she had worked out an arrangement with a professor to count work experience as a means of completing her degree. However, the report of the investigative panel saw things differently, Â “No student should have a reasonable basis to conclude that he or she could or would be excused from so many outstanding credits and course obligations simply upon the basis of experiential learning, in this case, engaging in one’s job responsibilities.”
The degree was rescinded. Â Ms. Bresch was promoted to CEO in 2009.Â That’ll teach her.Â Why is anyone surprised at Mylan’s conduct now?Â Look who they hired and promoted. Now, the company is scrambling to reverse the price increase, the damage, and the hit to the stock price.Â Why, even Sarah Jessica Parker, she of the shameless “Sex and the City” series, has withdrawn as a spokesperson for the EpiPen. Is it rock-bottom yet?
Some advice for other companies hiring the slippery comes from one of the Barometer’s pearls of wisdom, “They never do just one thing.”Â Â They keep going until someone is able to banish them.