Hold CEOs accountable for their parenting

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Fortune magazine ran an article titled “The Welshman, the Walkman, and the salarymen,” which asked if the CEO, Howard Stringer, can fix Sony. At the end of the article, Stringer, who is married with two children is quoted as saying at company meeting, “I don’t see my family much. My family is you.”

GIVE ME A BREAK!!! I can’t decide which is more pathetic — that Stringer is living this life or that Fortune magazine is writing about it without any commentary.

How can there be no mention of the fact that he is neglecting his kids? What about the double standard we have in this country? If you are poor and you abandon your kids you are a bad parent. But if you are rich and you abandon them to run a company, you are profiled in Fortune magazine.

I now quote a government publication aimed at low-income fathers:

“All children need emotional and financial support from both parents. The campaign goal is to convey .. the importance of family life and to encourage fathers — whether married, divorced or single — to become involved in their children’s lives… Responsible fathers are men who actively share with the mother in providing physical, emotional and intellectual needs for their child.”

This standard applies to Stringer. Just because he’s rich doesn’t mean his kids don’t need to see him. How is he providing emotional support to his children when he is telling his employees that he has replaced his family with his employees?

Employees, beware: CEOs like Stringer have a negative affect on your own ability to keep your personal life in tact, because work-life policy starts at the top and trickles down.

When you are looking for a company to work for, look at the CEO. If he works insane hours, you can bet that you will be expected to do the same, on some level. And my gosh, if he refers to you as his family, run!

6 replies
  1. Dylan Tweney
    Dylan Tweney says:

    Funny, I was just reading a Fortune interview with Citi CFO Sallie Krawchek this morning, and in it she talks about how she sees her CEO more than she sees her family. She also mentioned how she quit her job when she got pregnant, then changed her mind and had to wait a year before she could get hired again. She’s obviously driven and works long and hard (and implicitly has a great deal of spousal support at home, just like Stringer).

    Anywa, I don’t think you get to be CEO of Sony or CFO of Citi without neglecting your family somewhat.

  2. Noel Jensen
    Noel Jensen says:

    It is definitely a double standard. If a “poor” father were to neglect his family like this, he’s a bum. When a rich father does it, however, he’s an icon. Go figure.
    Factoid: The average CEO makes 400+ times the salary of the average employee (source). Given the level of investment, I don’t know how any company can afford to let the CEO go home at all!

  3. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Great point about Sallie Krawcheck: Even women at the very top of big companies have a spouse at home taking care of the kids. Something to consider if you think you are on your way to the top, women — find a guy who will do the caretaking.

  4. Norcross
    Norcross says:

    In looking at the recent events of Andy Reid’s (the head coach of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles) children, it’s apparant that a mother and father are needed at home. Being a head coach of an NFL team is a 24/7 job that lasts year round, not to mention the travel involved.

    Without having a good parental influence at home, all the money in the world won’t do a bit of good.

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