CEO Greed Redux

Posted by: Diane Brady on July 27, 2007

Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio is the latest disgraced leader to be sentenced to jail for corporate misconduct. This time it’s six years in prison for insider trading. Nacchio also has to forfeit $52 million in assets, pay $19 million in fines and go on probation for two years after serving his sentence (not that many of us worry he will get a chance to mislead investors and wrongly sell off millions in stock again).

What’s fascinating is how rarely any accused corporate leader ever confesses to being guilty of bad behavior right away. Do they legitimately think that they’re not doing anything wrong in selling off shares on news that nobody else knows; or taking personal payments that should go to shareholders; or talking up the stock price when they know they’re sitting on a house of cards?

Even when indicted CEOs are found guilty, there’s rarely an apology to shareholders and employees. Should millionaire offenders get a break for their “extraordinary” charitable works, as Nacchio is now seeking? He also cited the need to care for a grown son with severe psychological disabilities. (Did the son see much of him when dad was serving as CEO?)

It’s sad; another case of greed run amok.

Reader Comments

Nancy S

July 28, 2007 12:48 AM

Using the kid as an excuse...I didn't think he could get any lower.

Diane

July 28, 2007 4:00 AM

Martha Stewart did cite her elderly mother when requesting where to serve her sentence. A different situation, of course, but more proof that family comes to the fore when you're in trouble.

j.macklby

July 28, 2007 7:35 PM

JN will now have plenty of time to clear his mind of all those backdated options and reflect on future charitable deeds!!

drunk

July 29, 2007 12:38 AM

The damage Nacchio did far exceeded the insider trading conviction. This born-again Al 'Chainsaw' Dunlap puts his idol to shame in the carnage he did to Qwest and the telecom industry, and the business betrayal and career destruction he did to Qwest's European business partner. He and his gang of CEO mafia in the telecom/tech industries of the era is the result of more than runaway greed and business malpractice. It's the result of an ingrained American culture of profound ethics corruption and hubris. Like the perpetrators of the Inquisition, they see no wrong in themselves.

Kim

July 29, 2007 1:58 PM

He's truly getting only a taste of what he truly deserves. I have many friends who have been extremely affected by what this man did to what was once US West. Stocks that were once splitting, suddenly plummeted to under $3 per share. I can't begin to count the number of people who had invested in the company they worked for and are now having to figure out how long they are going to have to work before they will have enough to retire at a fraction of what they would have had pre-Nacchio. It's pathetic. The man is getting off easy. That money should be paid back to the numerous investors that lost thousands because of that man.

InnocentCEO

July 29, 2007 11:15 PM

Listen, Folks, I'm just a poor CEO trying to make ends meet. Aside from earning a few meager millions I'm just a working stiff like the rest of yall folks in poors-ville. Here's the truth: I didn't see my son because I was so busy holding corporate meetings in Europe, on yachts, and in 5 star hotels inorder to protect the stockholders' interest. As to talking up the stock, look man, I'm just an eternal optimist. Besides, I had role models like Bernie Ebber/WorldComm, Kenneth Lay/Enron, Martha Stewart, Adelphi, Tyson, Equity Funding.... Most importantly, I'm a patriotic American supporting our troops in Iraq, a born again christian, and a family man with a loving wife, two kids and a dog.

drunk

July 30, 2007 1:24 PM

InnocentCEO:
Indeed I understand why you call yourself "just a poor CEO". To address this unsatisfactory state of affair, I suggest you spend a couple of weeks in one of your yachts in your chosen South Pacific paradise islands and work on this challenge: Figure out one of two nice loopholes in SOX to screw the government, your board, shareholders and get away with it. Along the way, don't get detracted from your mission to outsource the entire company. If you are successful, you may enjoy your retirement as Bush pal.

Tricia Kameika

October 11, 2009 8:34 PM

What about the CEO'S AND POLITICIANS that got away with billions of dollars??? Like the wild west however instead of guns they bought our politicians. How many politicians sit on CEO boards???? We are talking about billions of dollars stolen from American people. Because of obscene greed we are facing socialism. Kings and Queens and no more opportunities to excel.

Tricia Kameika

October 11, 2009 8:34 PM

What about the CEO'S AND POLITICIANS that got away with billions of dollars??? Like the wild west however instead of guns they bought our politicians. How many politicians sit on CEO boards???? We are talking about billions of dollars stolen from American people. Because of obscene greed we are facing socialism. Kings and Queens and no more opportunities to excel.

Tricia Kameika

October 11, 2009 8:36 PM

What about the CEO'S AND POLITICIANS that got away with billions of dollars??? Like the wild west however instead of guns they bought our politicians. How many politicians sit on CEO boards???? We are talking about billions of dollars stolen from American people. Because of obscene greed we are facing socialism. Kings and Queens and no more opportunities to excel.

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