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When corporate culture goes toxic, from Lehman to Volkswagen

Source | Mint 


It is an ancient and time-honoured rule of business: when things go wrong, throw the CEO overboard. When American regulators charged Volkswagen with deliberately falsifying emissions tests for diesel cars, it was almost inevitable that the first casualty would be Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn. He resigned a few days after the news broke.


Winterkorn was just the latest in a long line of CEOs and chairmen who have paid the price for the failings of their companies. Sanjay Aggarwal of Kingfisher Airlines, Thorsten Heins of BlackBerry, Bob Diamond of Barclays Bank and Tony Hayward of oil firm BP are just a few of the high-profile bosses who have been forced from office in recent years after their businesses went disastrously wrong.


Aggarwal had little choice but to resign after it became clear that there would be no bailout for the airline. Heins paid the price for BlackBerry’s failure to respond to the dominance of Apple and Samsung. Diamond was held responsible for Barclays’s involvement in the Libor rigging scandal, and Hayward’s response to the Deepwater Horizon fatal fire and oil spill was considered by the press and public opinion—and BP’s shareholders—to have been weak and failing to address public concerns.
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