Media demands CEOs share the pain
As new depths of global economic malaise were reached in the closing and opening months of 2008/09, any remaining doubts expressed by commentators and analysts about the gravity of the situation were removed. The media’s reaction was to broaden the scope of its reporting: as the initial wave of media anxiety over the failings of finance structures plateaued, the reality of the consequences and what could be done to alleviate the hurting came into focus. The implication of this change in perspective for business leaders was an unprecedented inquiry into what acts of personal sacrifice they were making to align themselves with the more immediate victims of their company’s actions. In most cases this was directly seen in the reporting of changes (or not) to the payment of CEO bonuses. There were few leaders who escaped some attention on this issue, and where relinquishing the privilege was not evidenced, or where executives were viewed as being pedestrian over making downward changes to bonuses, the sentiment towards individuals could turn acidic.
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