You’d think high-ranking executives of Fortune 500 companies, knowing their every action is under a microscope nowadays, would adhere to the highest ethical and moral standards. Like Caesar’s wife, the reputation of a c-suite executive in our post-Enron, Sarbanes-Oxley world should be "above reproach."
Yet, here comes another example of unbelievably bad behavior from a top corporate executive. This time, it’s Wayne Pace, the chief financial officer of Time Warner, Inc., who has been accused by a convicted prostitute, Andreia Schwartz, of being her ‘sugar daddy.’ Over a period of three years, says Schwartz, Pace ‘showered’ her with gifts of all kinds.
Obviously this is so wrong in so many ways. But, the thing that strikes me is Pace’s obvious recklessness vis-a-vis his fiduciary responsibilities to the publicly-traded company for whom he works. Did Pace think, like President Clinton, Mike Tyson and Kobe Bryant before him, that the conventional rules followed by ‘average’ men didn’t apply to someone in so lofty a position? Why is it that the pampered elite so flagrantly disregard the rules of the society that has enabled them to prosper?
As a red-blooded American male, it also disturbs me that this seems to be a ‘guy’ thing. Just look at the NBC Dateline series ‘To catch a predator.’ Every single one of the Internet sexual predators duped into visiting a 12- or 13-year-old kid is a guy. And, some hold incredibly important and respected jobs to boot. So, what gives? What’s going on? Is it the individual guy’s fault? The sex-obsessed society in which we live? Both? Neither?
It’s all very confusing and depressing to say the least. Regardless of the root causes of his behavior, here’s hoping that, if found guilty, Mr. Pace pays a heavy price for his wanton ways. And, here’s also hoping that Time Warner takes the accusations very seriously and acts quickly to make sure that such an incident cannot easily happen again. It seems to me severe punishment may be the only way to change the old ‘boys will be boys’ mentality.