When CEO’s make an ass ofthemselves and the company they represent, does that set the tone for a potential crisis? Denny’s, Wal-Mart and Papa Johns have expressed their displeasure with President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. Some companies are threatening lay-offs, other’s are rattling the saber and reducing employee hours — all to avoid providing health insurance under the new act.
In fact, I know one person who’s personally affected by a similar decision, though the company she works for is not a Wal-Mart.
To make matters worse for Papa Johns, CEO John Schnatter has been the most outspoken executive. His latest gaffe? Read it: ”If our business is successful and achieves excessive profits, we’re under no obligation to share that with our workers.”
As a public relations professional, when I saw this making its rounds in social networks, my first response was to choke on my latte!
It’s these kinds of statements that draw the ire of customers and workers alike. It’s this kind of indifference that is testament of a business man who cares little and thinks little of his employees. It is these careless, “fuck-the-small-guy” statements and posturing that causes riots and fuels the general distrust of the uber-wealthy. Mitt Romney uttered many of these during his campaign, which could be one reason why he lost.
Here’s the problem. When CEO’s make stupid statement like this, it sets the stage for a massive crisis for the company. Imagine if, after workers discovered their CEO said such a thing, they organized and walked out. Imagine if long-time patrons of the carry-out pizza giant got pissy too? What if they organized to stage a nationwide boycott? What if these two events happened in conjunction? Could Schnatter’s business survive?
CEO’s are people, and they sometimes say dumb-ass shit. Schnatter did. How would you approach him to mitigate the fallout?