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.
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