There have been numerous instances over the years in which top-level executives at retail have resigned or been fired in disgrace for violating company rules of one form or another. In some cases, fines and jail time have also been involved.
I bring this up because I was dumbstruck by the admission of former Marsh Supermarkets CEO Don Marsh in court this week that he was unaware of the company's code of conduct. Mr. Marsh, who is being sued by the company for misusing company funds (in the millions) to pay for personal expenses including those related to extramarital affairs, signed off on the policy in 2005, but did not seem to think he was bound by it. In his defense, Mr. Marsh claimed that he had stacks of paper on his desk on a daily basis and did not have the time to read everything.
Whether he wins or loses the case, Mr. Marsh's reported testimony is reminiscent of what other executives who have found themselves removed from corner offices have said. They, like he, believed they were justified in engaging in activities that would get others reprimanded, if not fired.
Have c-suite executives played by the same rules as other workers in the companies where you have worked?