Sunday, June 7, 2015
Tell CECP What You Think of its Award to Kenneth Frazier
Tell CECP what you think at http://cecp.co/about-cecp/contact-us.html
cc: Penn State alumni networking
I was astounded to discover today that CECP had awarded Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier the Founder’s Award for “outstanding leadership that has made the world a better place through business.” (http://cecp.co/events/force-for-good-awards.html) CECP has apparently not been following events at Penn State where Mr. Frazier, in his role as a senior member of its Board of Trustees, helped cause tens of millions of dollars in damage to the University (NCAA sanctions, Freeh Report, payouts to Sandusky victims, and damage to Penn State’s reputation), got the University sued for defamation, scapegoated a subordinate and then lied about it, engaged in a racially-charged tirade during a public Board meeting and, per the Commonwealth Court’s opinion (4/09/2014) in State Senator Corman’s lawsuit against the NCAA, was derelict in his fiduciary duty for failing to contest the NCAA’s illegitimate sanctions against Penn State.
To begin with, Mr. Frazier joined his fellow Trustees in defaming (posthumously) Penn State Coach Joe Paterno as shown at http://giveto.psu.edu/s/1218/2014/index.aspx?sid=1218&gid=1&calcid=15638&calpgid=61&pgid=252&ecid=3519&crid=0
"While Coach Paterno did his legal duty by reporting that information the next day, Sunday, March 3, to his immediate superior, the then Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, the Board reasonably inferred that he did not call police. We determined that his decision to do his minimum legal duty and not to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership by Coach Paterno."
"The Board spent hours on conference calls between Saturday, Nov. 5, and Tuesday, Nov. 8, discussing appropriate action and our fiduciary responsibility as the Trustees. On Wednesday evening, Nov. 9, we met in person in State College. At about 9 pm, we unanimously made the difficult decision that Coach Paterno’s failure of leadership required his removal as football coach."
However, when Mr. Frazier and his fellow Trustee Keith Masser had to testify under oath in State Senator Corman’s lawsuit against the NCAA, they admitted that the Board had fired Paterno solely for public relations purposes, rather than anything he had or had not done.
"The decision to remove Coach Paterno had nothing to do with what he had known, what he hadn’t done. It was based upon the distraction of having him on the sidelines would have caused the university and the current football team harm. It had nothing to do with what Coach Paterno had done, or hadn’t done.”
This means the CEO of the Merck Corporation not only scapegoated somebody who worked for him, he then lied about the circumstances to and on behalf of the organization to which he owed a fiduciary duty. Somebody who scapegoats any subordinate, whether it’s somebody who pushes a broom or the coach of the Nittany Lions, is not fit for any position of supervisory responsibility whatsoever.
Mr. Frazier, along with former Penn State President Rodney Erickson and Trustees Karen Peetz and Keith Masser, was named in former President Graham Spanier’s defamation lawsuit against Penn State. All four made public derogatory remarks about him while acting on Penn State’s behalf, and in violation of the terms of his separation agreement. Most CEOs have better judgment than to badmouth former employees, just as most employees have enough sense to not badmouth former employers. Mr. Frazier, however, participated in an exchange of E-mails that seemed to be intended to sabotage Dr. Spanier’s job search.
http://notpsu.blogspot.com/2013/03/ken-frazier-racist-remark-on-tape.html for Mr. Frazier’s racist tirade at a Board of Trustees meeting in March 2013. I’m pretty sure that, had a CEO who looks like me directed these words to an alumnus who looks like Mr. Frazier, with “George Zimmerman” in place of “O.J. Simpson,” he would no longer be either a CEO or a Penn State Trustee.
“If you cared about that, you are one of the few people in this country, that looks like you, who actually believes the O.J. Simpson not guilty verdict was correct. And you know you do."
In addition, somebody at the Merck Corporation tried to sabotage a Wikipedia entry on Mr. Frazier because Merck obviously didn’t want these remarks quoted. The repeated attempts to change the Wikipedia entry were traceable to the IP address of a computer at Merck.com.
There is also the matter of recent layoffs at Merck. If Mr. Frazier cut his own salary and bonuses, then he has exhibited good leadership. If he continued to draw a high salary and bonuses while discharging employees, he has pretty much sent the message that Merck’s remaining employees owe the company nothing more than a 9 to 5 work ethic and level of commitment. One of the few things in favor of his fellow Trustee, John Surma, was that Surma cut his own pay at U.S. Steel when he laid off employees some time ago.
This, ladies and gentleman, is what CECP just touted as a “force for good,” which suggests that a CECP award (like the Nobel Peace Prizes that were awarded to people who had done nothing to earn them or, even worse, to terrorists like Yasser Arafat) is worth about as much as the kind of prize you might find in a box of Cracker Jack.
Disclosure: I have a financial interest in Merck as a stockholder.
William A. Levinson, B.S. ‘78