August 10, 2010

The Perks and Perils of CEOship

CEOs of major corporations are in some ways like modern-day royalty. Of course, PMs and Presidents of countries can lay claim as well. Obama enjoys such perks of the presidency as would have been quite unimaginable in the days of the old-world kings.

However, these modern-day royals have to perform a real tight-rope walking as well. Gone are the days when kings used to have 'exclusive' access to extensive harems. Alas!

These days, well, just look at what happened to the CEO of HP. Mark Hurd has done a fantastic job as the CEO by all accounts. And yet he was brought down by sexual harrassment charges brought by a reality TV contestant.

It's not entirely clear what exactly was the job description of the lady who has brought these sexual harassment charges. Seems like she was a high-end hostess or something — whatever that means.

Perhaps, HP's mistake lay in hiring her for that job but then that decision must have been more than just Mark's since her's was very much a 'public' job.

To me though, there seems to be some amount of inherent contradiction in this lady making these charges.

Clearly, I am not aware of the specifics of the charges levelled. My point therefore is simply this: clearly, the lady was not hired for her 'rare' intellectual abilities. She was hired because she was a woman and had what women have that makes them appealing to men.

That being the case, I would tend to be somewhat skeptical about her allegations.

It's somewhat vertiginous to think about these things. I am thinking of how constrained a President of the U.S. is now a days ... how careful he has to be. Certainly, a president can't think of conducting some secret affair.

And yet you had Clinton doing exactly that and almost self-destructing his presidency. He did what he did inspite of all the 'known' risks that he must have been aware of ... more than most people ... inevitably got caught with ... shall I say 'with his pants down'?

Kennedy was lucky then. The press was more ... deferential perhaps or cooperative or non-interfering back in those ... should I say, 'halcyon days'?

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