Companies walk a fine line when execs are ousted for ethics violations

In the #MeToo era, numerous organizations have sacked top officers for breaching codes of conduct, and communicators stress that the decision is unrelated to core business concerns.

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The prevailing crisis response in the #MeToo era is straightforward: Remove the liability.

Several companies have ousted their CEO or other high-profile leaders due to “code of ethics violations,” veiled language that indicates a potential crisis for the company’s brand.

Sometimes the employee’s departure doesn’t resolve the crisis, as was the case when Uber’s head of human resources was removed for failing to properly address discrimination complaints. Other removals might keep a bad situation from getting worse, as when the chief of Intel stepped down after disclosing an inappropriate workplace relationship.

When a company does part with a high-profile leader for ethics violations, the announcement often parses the details. Communicators take care to protect the brand’s reputation as an employer and business operation without getting into specifics.

Texas Instruments avoided impugning CEO Brian Crutcher’s business acumen, citing inappropriate conduct as the reason for his unexpected departure after only a month on the job.

It wrote in a release:

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