Ensuring Leadership

Jan 06, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Tough times in business call for leadership from the top. Unfortunately, says a Chicago Tribune article, top-notch leaders are in short supply in many executive suites around the country.

For many, the misdeeds of Arthur Andersen, Enron and others has signaled a collapse of ethical leadership in modern business.

Dean Edward Snyder, head of the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, refutes that viewpoint. Mr. Snyder told the Tribune the leadership void can be tracked back to the 1980s when many companies engaged in massive layoffs despite posting record profits.

Others such as Michael Birck, chief executive, Tellabs, a telecommunications network equipment manufacturer, say that lack of leadership in business is evident in the compensation packages of many top executives. “When I see what some of these folks are paid, 300 to 400 times what their lowest-paid people are compensated, that’s just wrong. Nobody in my judgment is 300 or 400 times more valuable to a company than anybody else.”

Moderator’s Comment: How can companies and their stakeholders
fix the leadership deficiencies in their businesses? Are there companies/executives
in retailing and consumer goods manufacturing who represent the “right” way
to do things?

The Chicago Tribune article points to the practice in
the UK of separating the chairman and chief executive titles between two people
as a means of increasing the “transparency and accountability” of the people
in each position. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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