Test the limits of CEO liability- Ebbers and WorldCom
Former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers, as is the fashion among indicted chief execs nowadays, tried to paint himself as hopelessly clueless about the $11 billion accounting scandal that engulfed his company and devastated shareholders. In the end, jurors placed more stock in the testimony of Scott Sullivan, WorldCom’s former chief financial officer, who pleaded guilty to cooking the company’s books and said Ebbers not only knew of the fiscal shenanigans but gave his blessing to continue them. Kirk Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, said he thinks the Ebbers verdict will make it harder for both [Ken Lay] and [Richard Scrushy] to portray themselves as disengaged from the companies they were running.
The defense from the CEO these days is simple, “I just did not know!”. In one of the articles below it talks about how the rejection of this defense bodes ill for Ken Lay of Enron; not as ill as the fatal heart attack he had some months later. Be that as it may, the “who me?” defense is out. So here is my question;
Should Ebbers have gone to jail? Based on normatives ethics (utlilitarian and deontological)
Worldcom fiasco, but most importantly, the point of this case is to test the limits of CEO liability. Should a CEO go personally to jail for this sort of thing.
I have found one good link: