8
Feb
2005

Now, the gross corruption product

by David R. Francis

from the February 07, 2005 edition

Christian Science Monitor

The names are as familiar by now as those of tennis stars: Dennis Kozlowski, former chief executive officer of Tyco International; Richard Scrushy, former boss of HealthSouth; and Bernard Ebbers, former CEO of WorldCom.

All are on trial for corporate crimes, getting news coverage each day, and prompting a few serious questions: Have American business leaders lost their moral compass? Were too few taught the Ten Commandments? Did parents and firms forget to teach ethics rules - or are executives simply targets of greater scrutiny?

Scandals have tripped up so many companies it's hard to keep track of them - from banks (Citigroup, Bank of America, Riggs) to mutual funds (Putnam, Janus Capital Group, Alliance Capital Management, and others). Mutual funds have paid more than $2.5 billion to settle charges. Marsh & McLennan Cos., a huge insurance broker, agreed last week to pay $850 million to avoid going to trial for fraud. If the annual revenues of companies tainted by scandal were assembled into a gross corruption product, it would top $1 trillion. "We have been through a tsunami in terms of ethics," says Keith Darcy, head of the Ethics Officer Association in Waltham, Mass. ... Read the rest at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0207/p17s01-wmgn.html


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