Corporate Leadership

By Holbrook, Stephen | Harvard International Review, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

Corporate Leadership


Holbrook, Stephen, Harvard International Review


In his article ("Breach of Trust: Leadership in a Market Economy," Fall 2003), Roger Leeds regurgitates facts surrounding the problem of corporate governance with US corporations. Leeds fails to bring any new viewpoint or insight into the issue, repeating ideas from newspapers and talking heads. The article also does not bring up critical details regarding the cause and continuation of corporate corruption, of which I will explain below.

There have been no published requirements or selection criteria for members on boards of directors. Unavailability of this critical information has blindsided stockholders and the general public as to the duties and responsibilities of directors of corporations. In short, stockholders have been eliminated from exercising their oversight responsibilities and from participating in the governance of their corporations.

Additionally, the corporate governance issue has been a longstanding problem in the United States. When I compare previous major cases, including the Franklin National Bank case in the 1970s and the National Medical Enterprise case in the 1990s, with current cases such as Enron, the common thread is that all of them involved privileged board members. These members deceived and stole from everyone by using the same unethical and unlawful methods and techniques. In every case, the board of directors caused the failure of the corporation, resulting in lost jobs and personal investments.

Furthermore, isn't it a clear case of conflict of interests when a manager and the overseer of a corporation are the same person? Corporate managers and directors serve different capacities and thus should never serve in both positions. …

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