Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Worst CEOs of 2011 Countdown - Number 4

Graham Spanier is the only top executive of a non-profit institution making my 5 Worst CEOs of 2011 list, and I’m not happy to write about it.  This was a horrible year for Spanier, and for Penn State.  As most people know, Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant coach of the Nittany Lions under Joe Paterno, has been indicted by a grand jury for sexually molesting young boys.  There will be a plea bargain, or a trial, in 2012 and of course every man is considered innocent until proven guilty.

But, the facts of the case as they related to President Spanier are very disturbing.  Two Penn State administrators informed Spanier that Sandusky was seen in the locker room showers with a child.  As several media outlets have now reported, Spanier told the grand jury that he was never informed that this incident was sexual in nature.  This is very, very hard to take.  I can’t imagine there is anyone reading this blog who thinks it is acceptable for a man and a child to be in a shower together, and allegedly, this is the tip of the iceberg.

Spanier was told that something bad had happened, yet he didn’t do anything about it.  He was arrogant, and he was complacent.  Then, when questioned about it, he derives some narrow excuse that would have made Bill Clinton proud.  If this is leadership, we don’t need any.

As it turns out, Spanier led Penn State for years in a manner designed to lock down disagreements, circling the wagons when anything went wrong.  He did this when an earlier sexual scandal occurred, as well as when he resisted attempts to release compensation data of Penn State administrators.  He created a culture of secrecy, and in the Jerry Sandusky case, all of this led to an incredibly bad decision he made years ago and that he has finally paid for this year.  What a shame.

Tomorrow on my blog: The King of Wall Street.

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