Sheryl Sandberg Departs Facebook (Meta) Even as Investigation into Her Personal Expenses Continues
Sheryl Sandberg, she of “Lean In” book fame, has left Facebook (Meta or whatever its name is today). However, there is an internal investigation pending. Seems the Facebook boys and girls are looking into whether Facebook/Meta resources were used to support Ms. Sandberg’s “Lean In” foundation as well as the planning for her wedding as well as for the promotion of her second book.
Over $24 million in total compensation in 2020 alone and Ms. Sandberg faces questions about use of company resources for personal stuff? What is it about leaders in companies and politicians in general who seek to find ways to have someone else pay for their personal junk?
If an employee were using Facebook/Meta resources to plan his/her wedding, the pink slip would be in the inbox tout de suite. Somehow leaders dip into the petty cash and worse and then offer, “Sheryl did not inappropriately use company resources in connection with the planning of her wedding.” Deepa Seetharaman and Emily Glazer, “Meta’s Probe of Sandberg Is Covering Several Years,” Wall Street Journal, June 11-12, 2022, p. B1.
Just look at the wiggle room in that defiant statement. “Did not inappropriately use company resources.” Is it possible that she may have done so appropriately or is there a Meta rule about company resource use in general? “In connection with the planning of her wedding.” Have we ruled out the use of company resources, appropriately or inappropriately, for other reasons?
A statement of outrage with qualifiers is often the slippery set-up for when the investigation concludes. Lots of space for “it depends on the meaning of” for leaders, although not for employees. They just get sacked, for appropriately and/or inappropriately using company resources. Oh, and by the way, the investigation had nothing whatsoever to do with Ms. Sandberg’s decision to retire. Appropriately stated.
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. MartinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 AttorneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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