“I am running a business. I am a for-profit business.”

Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan pharmaceutical (sellers of the price-increased EpiPen ($600)), and daughter of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.  Ms. Bresch is featured in a case study in Marianne M. Jennings. “Business Ethics: Case Studies and Readings” (Cengage 2014).  For those who have forgotten . . . In 2008, Ms. Bresch, upon being named COO, claimed that she had an MBA from West Virginia University.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found that she was, in fact, short 22 credit hours. The dogged reporting also revealed a scandal at West Virginia University to create courses, grades, and a degree for her.  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.”  However, the reference to the degree was removed from her credentials, and an 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.  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,  “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The degree was rescinded.  Ms. Bresch was promoted to CEO in 2009.  That’ll teach her.  Why is anyone surprised at Mylan’s conduct now?  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.  Why, even Sarah Jessica Parker, she of the shameless “Sex and the City” series, has withdrawn as a spokesperson for the EpiPen.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.”   They keep going until someone is able to banish them.


About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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