From the Editor – Issue 53

Ralph S. Larsen, retired chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, said, “You can’t have a large company and not have issues to deal with. But as we have all learned, it is not the initial incident or problem that is so bad, but the cover up.”

How do companies, and individuals in those companies, deal with the crises that result from “issues” within a company?

In this issue we feature numerous responses to business crises.

  • Sherron S. Watkins, who lived through the Enron meltdown, and is widely regarded as the whistleblower, is featured in the Conversation. She shares why Enron leadership failed to respond and what lessons came out of that major scandal.
  • Ralph S. Larsen explains how Johnson & Johnson responded to the Tylenol crisis of the 1980s, and why their set of values provided the foundation for this response, in the Best Practices section.
  • Eric Pillmore was the subject of the Ethix Conversation in the September/October 2003 issue. He had recently been appointed as the Tyco senior vice president for corporate governance, and had set a goal of turning Tyco around after their ethical scandal. He shares the progress they have made.
  • Deborah R. Griffing, our guest columnist, shares helpful ideas on dealing personally with times of high stress from a business crisis.
  • In Technology Watch, I analyze responses to technology-based crises in business.

The ideas in the current issue should help any business leader facing a business crisis.

Looking ahead, the July/August issue will feature Rob Pace, responsible for coordinating strategy and marketing initiatives within the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs & Co. He is past winner of the “Deal of the Year” at Goldman Sachs, and has the right perspective to discuss the role of the investment banks in creating an ethical business climate.

The September/October Ethix Conversation will be with Ken Melrose, recently retired chairman of The Toro Company. Under his leadership, Toro established an innovative program called Alternate Dispute Resolution, focused on respecting customers.


Al Erisman
Executive Editor