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Are boards missing the ethics boat?

Sally March ( is Director, Drummond March & Co, in London, UK.

The coronavirus crisis has lent urgency to the public discussion of ethics and sustainability as some very large listed corporations snapped up government assistance intended for small businesses[1] and were pilloried in the press for their behavior.[2] Some complained that they had done nothing illegal; the rules were badly crafted.[3] The business media warned senior executives that how they behave now will affect the future of their businesses. Executives who took a pay cut during the crisis got a pat on the back for recognizing, if not exactly sharing, the pain of their furloughed employees. After the crisis, executive remuneration will be a lightning rod again for public and political discontent. As we say, it’s about conduct at the top.

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