Or is it “wakes up and smells the coffee?
After a week of intense scrutiny over their “support” of CEO David J. Edmondson and his educational misstatements, the Radio Shack board yesterday announced a “mutual decision” whereby Mr. Edmondson would leave and pocket a severance. The New York Times has more. The Fort-Worth Star Telegram broke the story and is all over it.
This pressure on the board to act was increasing since the news surfaced, and really became intense last Friday when the company announced earnings and also that it was closing 400-700 stores as part of a “turnaround.”
The board had initially voiced support for Mr. Edmondson. The ex-CEO stated he had a Th.G degree from Heartland Baptist Bible College that he obtained in three years; the college checked its records, which showed him attending for two semesters. Then the board stated that it would authorize an independent investigation by outside counsel. Yesterday, mercifully, someone dialed into a clearer frequency, and reason and common sense prevailed.
Why did it have to come to this? There is an axiom that has been repeated in various forms by about 1,000 business books in the last five years. It goes something like this: lead by example.
I would wager that any Radio Shack employee who was found to have misrepresented educational experience on a signed job application would likely be terminated on the spot. How could the company ever take such an action in the future if it let Mr. Edmondson skate by on this one?
Senior executives who receive the highest pay should be held to the highest standards of integrity.
Radio Shack seems to have learned this lesson the hard way. When you go to their website this morning, this is what you find when you hit the page for executive bios:
Thank you for visiting our corporate Web site. We are currently updating and validating all of the biographical information for each of our senior executives. Please check back soon to receive this information. If this is an urgent matter, please call (817) 415-3300, option 1 and then 2 (for corporate media relations).