Boys will be boys

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.

16 thoughts on “Boys will be boys

  1. Repman….
    So much criticism on the bad boys. What ever happened to that -don’t judge till you walk in his shoes-thing?
    Can one really know what is going on in the guys heart who is doing all that “cheating”? It might be the only way he can get up each morning to face his demons.
    It’s wonderful to be moral and all that. So if one can be that because of the good life the Good Lord has bestowed upon him. Lucky fellow. So give the guy a chance. He is just trying to make through each day.

  2. I-man: having a reasoned discussion with you is akin to butting one’s head against a brick wall. Again, my contention is that the actions of senior executives at a publicly-traded company matter very much. Let’s leave it at that, agree to disagree and move on…..

  3. rep- again you prive why you are wrong in your response to me.
    first, media outlets picked up on it b/c it was news from TWX, so any media covering the markets HAD to pick up on it. that doesn’t mean it has any bearing on the company or its stock price.
    skilling, ebbers, etc committed FRAUD!!! this guy had an affair..come on, cant u see the difference??????
    stonecipher was fishing off the company pier…again, this affair had NOTHING to do with TW.
    the differnce in this debate is simple- i prove my point by saying that this news had ZERO effect on the stock price and that this affair had NOTHING to do with TW or company matters. you on the other hand try equating an affair with fraud. show me ONE effect this had on the company or had to do with the company- JUST ONE and maybe you will have a leg to stand on.

  4. I’m not making a mountain out of any molehill, I-man. This was picked up by Reuters, Bloomberg and other media who cover the markets. Do you think they did so because the executive’s actions won’t have an impact on the market’s perception? Wake up. The actions of the Lay’s and Skilling’s and Ebbers and Kozlowski’s have a huge impact on the image, reputation and market performance of their companies. Harry Stonecipher, the former CEO of Boeing, was fired by the board because he was fooling around with a co-worker. Why? Because it would directly impact their image, reputation and market performance if they didn’t. That’s why. You’re dead wrong on this I-man

  5. Summer Fun with Andreia Schwartz & Wayne Pace

    RepMan wants answers: “…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?” Bobbi Pace…

  6. rep, how can you say that screwing a hooker has anything to do with abusing the power he holds as a CFO??? i got news for you- many men have done and will do the same and they are not all CFO’s. he didn’t do this b/c he was a CFO, he did it b/c he had a problem in his marriage, period.
    this has absolutely nothing to do with TW! i personally have a lot of shares of TWX and it would take a lot more than a CFO screwing a hooker to make me sell. i would bet that less than 1/10 of 1% of TW investors even thought for a second about selling b/c of this. and to back that up, the stock price has been up recently, not even a short term sell off b/c of this!
    to bring bernacke into this is completely off base. he is now arguably the most powerful man in the world and when he sneezes the market moves.
    in terms of investors thinking that TW might have shaky mgmt, again, you are way off. any investor (and i don’t mean day trader) will see this exactly as it is- a CFO that supposedly had a relationship with another woman.
    talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill with this blog!

  7. Sorry Repman but today’s post totally lends itself to policy-bashing. My point is that the narrowing gap between private behavior and public policy is at the crux of today’s culture war.

  8. Here’s why you’re dead wrong, I’man. Actions such as being a hooker’s “sugar daddy” for three years are a gross abuse of the office of CFO of a publicly-traded company. And, those actions can lead investors and customers (not to mention employees and everyone else) to wonder what other corners he might be cutting. Or what other secrets he might have hidden. Don’t you get it? Don’t you understand that when you play in the big leagues and make a big mistake like this, it can cause huge repurcussions? Just look at what some ill-timed comments by Bernacke had on the markets. The markets are very jittery right now, I-man. If they think T-W’s management may be a little shaky as a result of this escapade (which you dismiss as insignificant), what do you think they’ll do?

  9. rep- those actions directly affected the company and their position. this guy slept with a hooker for g-d’s sake. let me guess, say tomorrow we find out that joe putz from XYZ corp, a publicly traded company, got a lap dance and went to the vip room at scores. should we fire him too and short the stock? come on rep, this is absurd.

  10. I-man: Are you not aware of the impact that the actions (plagarism and lying, respectively) of the CEOs of Raytheon and Radio Shack have recently had on the reputations of both corporations? Are you saying that the actions of a senior executive will not have an impact on the company’s business? Wow, order me a pound of whatever it is you’re smoking or injecting at the moment. Thanks.

  11. rep- you are wrong. just b/c a reporter gets a scoop about his bedroom activities, doesn’t mean it is our business. c’mon, do u really think that his side action has anything to do with company’s performance. not even close.

  12. Med guy: With all due respect, your naivete is astounding. Do you actually believe the comportment of the CFO of a publicly-traded powerhouse like Time Warner is no different than that of some guy in the mailroom? C’mon. Don’t you understand the impact such behavior can have on the markets and the corporation’s image and reputation as a whole? When a CFO’s behavior (personal or otherwise) becomes front-page news, then it IS everyone’s business. Especially the shareholders of Time Warner. Note to David: I’ll stop calling Macy a bad guy if we can drop the Clinton/Bush bashing. I don’t feel qualified to discuss politicians from a policymaking standpoint. Let’s keep it to image and reputation.

  13. rep-
    im sure u won’t be shocked, but i have to disagree with you here. what pace did was morally wrong, but that is between him and his wife and family. this is not a corporate matter, unless he used company money.
    the fact that he has family issues is of no consequence to me, you or anyone else. he is not a “celebrity” that kids look up to so that angle is void as well. this is a guy that cheated on his wife, plain and simple. no different than the mail room guy at Time warner doing the same…

  14. Agree to disagree on this one, Rempan. I am all for monogamy and the sanctity of marriage and I think the only person who should be dismayed by Pace’s actions right now is his wife.
    As for Mr. Bush’s personal behavior, one could argue that it’s the basis of his bigotted, divisive politics. In spite of his loose personal conduct, Bill Clinton lead an administration of inclusion. George Bush, in his born-again Christian delirium, is spearheading a movement to curtail the rights of groups he feels don’t fit the mold of normalcy. People like Mr. Bush believe that the c-level suite is reserved for “upstanding” citizens — the definition of upstanding of course being a subjective one — as are the rights of American citizenship. In other words, if you’re not a church-going right-winger, there’s no place, nor job, for you in this country.
    I know (hope) you don’t think like this.
    And let’s stop calling Pace a “bad guy,” he wasn’t caught on Dateline trying to sleep with a 12-year-old.

  15. David: First, let me salute your passion. I really do appreciate it. Second, let me clarify my stance on David Green. I never once condoned his actions. I merely pointed out the power of public relations and word-of-mouth in communicating his website/goals to the mass public. I can’t remember ever seeing anything quite like it. As for Pace, I could not disagree more vehemently with your views. When an individual rises to the upper echelons of a publicly-traded company, he or she is given access to unbelievably lucrative perks and opportunities. Regardless of whether he used Time Warner’s corporate funds for his hijinks or not, he badly misbehaved and has brought shame and disgrace to his company. And, he’s done so in the same way Clinton brought disgrace to the office of the president of the U.S. I’m no fan of the current occupant, but no one can question his personal behavior while in office (his Yale days are a different matter entirely). So, in summation, I think it’s very sad that so many “bad guys” seem attracted to positions of power in business and industry. I’m sure there are many more good guys. but, the current record doesn’t bear support those feelings. Macy did wrong (and he should face the consequences).

  16. As of now it appears that Wayne Pace didn’t use corporate funds to pay for his extracurricular activities. That said, the moralistic grandstanding that is now going to ruin someone’s career just goes to show how skewed our values are.
    How Pace behaves in the boardroom and not the bedroom should be the arbiter by which he and other men in positions of authority are judged.
    I’m not defending Pace cheating on his wife, in fact, I think that’s quite sad, but it’s not anybody’s business to pass judgement on what he does on his own time.
    Further, that Bill Clinton has been dragged into this is just infuriating. The effort to hang Clinton by the, um, neck, made our country the laughing stock of the world. Fast forward to 2006 when George Bush leads 2,500 soliders to their graves with his faulty information on Iraq and the word impeachment is not once uttered in the mainstream press.
    But I digress.
    The issue here is loose sexual conduct and that brings me to another point. A young British man named Richard Green was recently applauded on this blog for using the Web to engage in a threesome with his wife. His campaign to find a third mate was noted as an example of the power of word-of-mouth and viral campaigns. Does that mean, then, that prospective employers should look at this chap as an enterprising young man or a pervert?