After watching the CBS/60 Minutes Morley Safer jail house interview last weekend with L. Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco Industries, I found myself cringing again at a leader's simple failure to be accountable and responsible, even as he sits in jail.
Age 60, Kozlowski is serving 8 to 25 in a medium-security prison near Utica, New York. He claims complete innocence of the charges of manipulation of accounting records, embezzlement, fraud, et cetera, and that he's different than the other CEO scandals (e.g., MCI and Enron), because his former company is doing well.
He also said that the jurors must have believed he did something illegal to earn his $100 million a year -- suggesting that someone of his earning power could not have gotten a fair trial.
"I was a guy sitting in a courtroom making $100 million a year, and I think a juror sitting there just would have to say, `All that money? He must have done something wrong.' I think ... it's as simple as that."
The jury deliberated for 11 days after the four month trial was over -- so you be the judge of whether they convicted him on the size of his tax return. It seems to me, though, that if that were the case, the deliberations would have been much quicker.
Anyway, I just wanted to point out that Recovering Leaders are accountable for their actions and inactions, and take responsibility. Mr. K won't heal until he gets to this point. For now, to hear him tell it, it's still what I call the "Immaculate Deception."
His story of rags-to-riches would be more compelling if, along the way, he learned to own his own mistakes.
There's a good discussion over at the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog -- check it out!